About Us: Our History

aboutus-history

Highlights


Charles RidgelyThe cemetery land was originally part of the Hampton estate of Charles Ridgely. In 1831 this land became part of “Epsom,” the Chew family estate. When Harriett Chew died, 14 acres between York Road and Dulaney Valley Road passed to her son Benjamin Chew. In 1886, Benjamin Chew bequeathed the property to his niece, Anna Grason.

In 1890 Anna Grason and her husband, William, sold the property to John and Henry Longnecker on the condition that it continue to be used as a cemetery. This is the first deed reference to the existence of the cemetery, but the Chew family may have used the land for burials as early as 1856. The Longneckers were publishers of the Union News in Towson.

Irwin and Ethel Brown Huber acquired the property in 1941, under the corporate name of Prospect Hill Park Cemetery. The Hubers established the first register of interments. In the mid-1950s, the Hubers sold acreage along Dulaney Valley Road that did not contain gravesites. This is the site of the current Dulaney Valley Plaza shopping center. The remaining acreage was purchased by Scott Brooks in 1957, followed by Charles Budrewski in the 1970s, who developed the office building at the north end of the property. The current six-acre burial ground remained.
By 1984, the cemetery had fallen into a state of disrepair. A group of Towson families, led by Dr. Robert Parker, James Campbell and Carroll Klingelhofer, formed a non-profit corporation that purchased the cemetery for $2,500. To explain the new corporate structure of the cemetery and to encourage funding of the on-going work of maintaining the property, the group conducted public meetings, which were advertised in the local press and through the Towson churches. Families came forth to join the group’s effort to restore this final resting place of their loved ones to its original dignity and beauty.

Since 1984, the ownership and governing structure of Prospect Hill Cemetery has been as a not-for-profit business. The corporate board is comprised solely of volunteers who manage the property and run the active cemetery business. The sole purpose of the corporation is to sell lots, conduct burials, maintain the grounds and preserve this historic place of rest for future generations. Tax-deductible donations to maintain the cemetery (primarily landscape maintenance, grass cutting and snow removal) are raised annually from interested family members in 24 states, from those interested in the cemetery as a local historical site, and people interested in preserving these six acres of open space in the commercial core of Towson.

More than 3,000 people are buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery, and some 700 gravesites remain available for purchase, both cremation lots for $750 and full burial lots for $1500. Funds generated by the sale of lots are invested for future maintenance needs.

The articles of incorporation of the current corporation ensure that Prospect Hill will always remain a non-profit cemetery. In addition, the designation of the cemetery as a Baltimore County Historical Site reinforces the intent of the board of directors that Prospect Hill will remain hallowed ground as the final resting place of our community’s past and future generations.

Of Note…

  1. Dr. John Summerfield Green 1892 – 1952
    • Towson physician whose home and office were on Allegheny Avenue
    • Dr. Green known to have transfused a patient directly with his daughter on an adjoining cot
    • Green family housekeeper, Louise Franling, is buried with the family
  2. Newton Herschel Allen 1890 – 1964
    • Engineer who led design team of the first Chesapeake Bay Bridge and original Susquehanna River Bridge
  3. Nicholas Charles Burke Mudd 1922 – 1998
    • Civil engineer who worked on both Bay Bridges, Francis Scott Key Bridge and other major structures
    • Past president of the Engineering Society of Baltimore
  4. John Edward Mudd (1928 – 2003)
    • Prominent Towson attorney
    • Republican candidate for Congressional seat in 1968
  5. T. Scott Offutt 1872 – 1943
    • President, Maryland State Bar Association
    • Judge, Maryland Court of Appeals
  6. Judge C. Gus Grason 1881 – 1953
    • Judge, Baltimore County Circuit Court
    • Judge, Maryland Court of Appeals
  7. Stevenson Family
    • Family farm on Stevenson Lane in Towson originally a land grant from King George III
    • Farm developed into Country Club of Maryland and family burials moved to Prospect Hill
  8. Matthew Cole Braly 1925 – 1980
    • Prisoner at San Quentin for 17 years; self-taught writer of Felony Tank, False Start, On the Yard
    • After completing his prison sentence he eventually became a writing instructor at UMBC
  9. William Grier 1883 – 1963
    • Towson resident who operated a steam shovel building the Panama Canal
  10. Warren Stitt Seipp 1873 – 1930
    • Past Master of Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge in Towson; Grand Master of Masons in Maryland 1920 – 1930
    • Planned and oversaw construction of Bonnie Blink Retirement Home in Hunt Valley
  11. Captain Thomas Ridgely 1792 – 1847
    • West Point graduate who served under General Winfield Scott and died in the Battle at Mexico City.
    • Possibly moved to Prospect Hill when the cemetery opened; monument is original.
  12. Ping and Fong Tom
    • Chinese immigrants who operated a laundry on Chesapeake Avenue in Towson from the 1940s to 1970s
  13. Ina Frankenfield Fisher 1922 – 2006
    • Member of the Army Nurse Corp stationed in England, where she nursed the wounded from D-Day
    • Honored with a military funeral
    • Along with husband Jim Fisher, comprise the only husband & wife military couple in the cemetery
  14. John Frankenfield 1923 – 2008
    • Baltimore television pioneer at WBAL-TV
    • Rose from prop department to camera man, director, news director to assistant general manager
  15. Andrew Styka 1922 – 2007
    • Polish freedom fighter in WW II and son of prominent European artist Jan Styka
    • Organizer for the Baltimore Katyn Forest Memorial in Harbor East
  16. Campbell Family
    • Four-generation family that owned a successful road paving and concrete business
    • Owned several area quarries, and developed their White Marsh quarry into White Marsh Town Center
  17. J. Maurice Watkins Jr. 1873 – 1948
    • Towson Saloon keeper – original site now occupied by The Crease
    • Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore 1912
  18. Bayne Family
    • More than 100 family members are buried at Prospect Hill
    • Family farm east of Towson in what is today know as Baynesville, site of the family wheelright shop
    • Family also ran the stagecoach to Lutherville
  19. Dr. Grafton Marsh Bosley 1825 – 1901
    • Donated land from his 400-acre estate in West Towson to be used for the original County Courthouse
    • His estate, Uplands, is now the Presbyterian Home of Maryland and on Baltimore County Landmark list
  20. Dr. James Jarrett 1832 – 1922
    • Family farm became the center of Jarrettsville
    • As delegate to Maryland gubernatorial nominating convention in 1858, Dr. Jarrett cast deciding vote for Thomas Hicks to become the pro-Union governor and preserve Maryland in the Union during the Civil War
    • After serving with the Union Army, Jarrett opened his medical practice in Towson
  21. Joe Campanella 1930 – 1967
    • Member of the Baltimore Colts in the 1950s
    • With fellow Colt Gino Marchetti, he founded Gino’s fast food restaurants
  22. Harris Glenn Milstead (aka “Divine”) 1945 – 1988
    • Grew up in Towson and Lutherville. Lived six houses from John Waters
    • Starred in early Waters’ movies: Pink Flamingo, Polyester and Hairspray
  23. Hillen Family
    • Family farm from 1700s is now Mount Pleasant Golf Course on Hillen Road
    • Family members served in Revolutionary War, Battle of Fort McHenry and as mayor of Baltimore, member of Congress and founding members of Baltimore Basilica
  24. Babyland
    • Recently re-landscaped resting place of over 100 stillborns, infants and young children
    • This type of area was common in old cemeteries before modern medicine saved young lives
  25. Eugene Stagmer 1877 – 1939
    • Served on Admiral Dewey’s flagship at Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, and was awarded a cannon for valor, now located on the Courthouse lawn
    • Until the 1940’s, when cannon balls were soldered into place, teenage boys enjoyed rolling the balls down the streetcar tracks from Chesapeake to York Road late at night