Lake Roland (park)

Lake Roland is a city/county park encompassing over 500 acres of woodland, wetlands, serpentine barrens, rare plants and rocky plateaus surrounding Lake Roland in Baltimore County, Maryland. The park is located near the intersection of Falls Road and Lake Avenue, adjacent to the Falls Road Light Rail Stop of the Baltimore Light Rail, which runs from Cromwell Station near Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County in the south to Hunt Valley of Baltimore County.[3][4] The line runs along a railroad embankment and trestle over the lake above the dam, cutting the park into a two-thirds wooded northern part and the one-third southern portion around the dam, picnic groves, pavilion and pumping station.[5][6]

Lake Roland
Pump Station in Robert E. Lee Park.jpg
Location1000 Lakeside Drive
Baltimore, MD 21210
Area500 acres (200 ha)[1]
Operated byBaltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation
Lake Roland Historic District
Lake Roland (park) is located in Maryland
Lake Roland (park)
Lake Roland (park) is located in the United States
Lake Roland (park)
Nearest cityBaltimore, Maryland
Coordinates39°23′13″N 76°38′49″W / 39.38694°N 76.64694°W / 39.38694; -76.64694Coordinates: 39°23′13″N 76°38′49″W / 39.38694°N 76.64694°W / 39.38694; -76.64694
Area281 acres (114 ha)
Built1858 (1858)
ArchitectSlade, James
Architectural styleGreek Revival
NRHP reference No.92001285[2]
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1992

Though the park is located just outside the northern limits of Baltimore City, it is owned by the city and operated as a park since the 1920s by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks and is now leased to neighboring Baltimore County and operated by their parks agency, in a similar arrangement to the situation with Fort Smallwood Park, several miles southeast of the city along the Patapsco River's south shore in Anne Arundel County, and transferred for lease to that suburban county's jurisdiction. After years of disrepair, the park was temporarily closed on December 16, 2009, when Baltimore County assumed operation of the Park for which Baltimore City's government still "retains title," for $6 million in extensive renovation, working with the Wallace Montgomery and Human & Rohde, Inc. construction companies, including "pavilions, playgrounds, trails, bridges and even a dog park."[7][8] Under the new administration of Baltimore County's Parks and Recreation, the park was reopened to the public on Friday, October 14, 2011.


The lake was constructed in the late 1850s after the city's 1854 purchase of the assets of the privately owned Baltimore Water Company, (founded 1805), following a long political controversy about the company's failure to extend water lines and service into the then outlying areas of town after the most recent annexation of 1818 which moved the city's northern boundary to then-called Boundary Avenue (today's North Avenue).[4][9] The "Beaver Dam" marble old pumping station on the eastern shore of the lake contains a marble pedestal engraved with the dates and names of the pertinent officials and contractors involved in its construction and completion in 1860–61, along with another stone tablet that used to lie at the dam's western end before its reconstruction in the mid-1990s by the city.

Further to the south, the city had also just purchased the former Lloyd Nicholas Rogers estate "Druid Hill", first settled by Europeans in the mid-1660s and with manor plantation houses reconstructed several times since, most recently in 1800 with what later became called the "Mansion House". It formed the third largest municipal landscaped park in the country (after Central Park in New York City and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia). Druid Lake was carved out, constructed and landscaped to add capacity to the newly expanded first municipal water supply system using the waters of the inter-connecting Jones Falls which flowed south through the central city to the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River and the Baltimore Harbor. The system of parks for the City of Baltimore along the various stream valleys with inter-connected landscaped boulevards or parkways was designed and laid out by the famous landscape architect and developer Frederick Law Olmsted and the company later established by his sons in two famous reports in 1904 and 1926, of which Lake Roland and its Dam formed and integral part.[10][11][12]

Lake Roland Historic District, declared in 1992, is a national historic district in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland, United States.[4] It consists of a man-made lake, Lake Roland, portions of the Jones Falls and Roland Run streambeds, and portions of the rights-of-way of former Green Spring Valley Railroad and the Northern Central Railway. The central portion of the historic district is occupied by Lake Roland, with a stone dam capped by a stone valve house, built in 1858–1861. The lake was developed in the mid 19th century as a part of the city's municipal water system and built as the main reservoir. The lake is surrounded by open areas and woods.[13]


In 1945, the park was designated as the Robert E. Lee Memorial Park after General Robert E. Lee, who commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War. This was done at the request of wealthy Baltimorean Elizabeth B. Garrett White, the aunt of segregationist Robert Garrett, then chairman of the Baltimore City Recreation Commission, who required that when she died (1917), the proceeds from the sale of her estate was to be used to erect a monument for Lee, which was later used to name the park instead.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]

Until the name of the park, just outside city limits, changed to Lake Roland, some saw it as a "lovely spot" but also a "reminder of the city's stance on race," a "vestige of racism" or "heritage of hate," while some historians argued that the name of "Roland Park" has "its own history as one of the most exclusive and segregated white neighborhood's in Baltimore," opening the name up to possible criticism in the future.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

In the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting and in response to the general controversy revolving the display of Confederate symbols, there was debate about changing the name of the park. In June 2015, the County Executive of Baltimore County, Kevin Kamenetz, asked officials of Baltimore City for a name change, saying that "we've been talking for months about a name change that better reflects this unique amenity. We believe Lake Roland Park is more reflective of this open space treasure, and we are confident that the City will approve our request, and I expect to make a joint announcement with the City about the name change in the very near future."[7][42][43][16][44] On September 28, 2015, Baltimore County renamed the park to Lake Roland after being approved to do so by the Baltimore City Council.[14][45][46][47][48]

The Park covers over 500 acres, has a multi-faceted nature center, which opened in October 2016, along with the Paw Point Dog Park, "numerous trails, nature and environmental programs...[two] pavilions, and waterfront activities," and many other recreational opportunities.[3][49][4][50][51] The Park works with the Lake Roland Nature Council which partnered with Maryland artists to "showcase their work in the natural beauty of Lake Roland" as part of a continuing "Art on the Trail" project which began in 2015.[52][53][4]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About Carrie Murray Nature Center". Friends of Carerie Murray Nature Center. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Lake Roland". November 16, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e Yesko, Jill (October 26, 2016). "New nature center enhances education programs, exhibits at Lake Roland Park". Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  5. ^ Crouse, Travis (October 4, 2016). "Lake Roland". Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  6. ^ "Best Parks in Baltimore for a Winter Nature Walk". January 2, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Kamenetz Seeks City Approval to Rename Robert E. Lee Park". June 22, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  8. ^ Lake Roland Park
  9. ^ Lake Roland (formerly Robert E. Lee Park).
  10. ^ Roland Park, Maryland History.
  11. ^ Sherwood Gardens.
  12. ^ Perlman, Bernard (June 15, 1991). "He Invented the Suburbs". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Ward Bucher and Susan Cook (June 1991). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Lake Roland Historic District" (PDF). Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  14. ^ a b Perl, Larry (September 28, 2015). "Baltimore County renaming Robert E. Lee Park as Lake Roland". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  15. ^ McIntyre, Cynthia (October 13, 2015). "Mid-Century, 1960 Stunner in Lake Roland Park: First Time On The Market, $695,000". Baltimore Fishbowl. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Cassie, Ron (June 23, 2015). "City Council Moves To Rename Robert E. Lee Park". Baltimore Magazine. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  17. ^ Why is There a Park in Baltimore Named for Robert E. Lee?, HistoryNet, September 17, 2015.
  18. ^ Garrett Power, "Apartheid Baltimore Style: the Residential Segregation Ordinances of 1910–1913," Maryland Law Review, Vol. 42, issue 2, p. 292.
  19. ^ Terry Klima, "Flawed history of Lee Park," The Baltimore Sun, July 28, 2015.
  20. ^ Eden Unger Bowditch, Images of America: Baltimore's Historic Parks and Gardens, Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2004, p. 121.
  21. ^ Laws of the State of Maryland Made and Passed," Annapolis: George T. Melvin, 1920, p. 398.
  22. ^ Tim Almaguer, Images of America: Baltimore's Patterson Park, Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2006, p. 68.
  23. ^ Sara Patenude, "PLAYING FAIR: THE FIGHT FOR INTERRACIAL ATHLETICS IN BALTIMORE," Baltimore City Historical Society, 2011.
  24. ^ Boyer v. Garrett, 88 F. Supp. 353 (D. Md. 1949), Justia, December 30, 1949.
  25. ^ Ralph Brown, "Why Robert E. Lee park?, Baltimore City Paper, July 1, 2015.
  26. ^ Robert Garrett was also a major sponsor of the American Eugenics Society.
  27. ^ David Zang, "Till Death Do Us Part: The Grand Tour of Baltimore's Graveyard Greats," Baltimore Sports: Stories from Charm City, ed. Daniel A. Nathan, Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2016, p. 7.
  28. ^ Garrett Power, "The divisive history of Robert E. Lee Park's name," Baltimore Sun, July 24, 2015.
  29. ^ Jeff Hager, "Bid to rename Robert E. Lee Park in Baltimore has historians worried about attempts to erase past," ABC 2 News, July 20, 2015.
  30. ^ WJZ, Baltimore's Robert E. Lee Park May Be About To Get New Name, July 20, 2015.
  31. ^ Matthew Newman, "Don't Change the Name of Robert E. Lee Park," Red Maryland, July 9, 2015.
  32. ^ Evan Serpick, "Mayor to 'review' the city's Confederate statues," Baltimore City Paper, July 30, 2015.
  33. ^ Ed Gunts, ""Respecting history" vs. "being offensive"," Baltimore Brew, September 18, 2015.
  34. ^ Marc Steiner, Why Does Baltimore Have So Many Confederate Monuments?, January 23, 2015.
  35. ^ Dallas News, "We can't avoid America's Confederate history by removing it from view," July 2015.
  36. ^ "Petition: Stop Honoring White Supremacy: Change the name of Robert E. Lee Park," 2015.
  37. ^ Baltimore's Confederate Memory & Monuments, Baltimore's Civil Rights Heritage, 2015.
  38. ^ Amanda Terkel, "The Confederacy Is Still Celebrated All Over America. Send Us A Photo From Your Town," Huffington Post, June 23, 2015.
  39. ^ Roberto Alejandro, "Coalition Asks for Removal of Confederate Monument in Baltimore's Wyman Park," Baltimore Afro-American, July 1, 2015.
  40. ^ Blair Lee, "Goodbye, Negro Mountain,", February 25, 2011.
  41. ^ Erika Quesenbery Sturgill, "Baltimore's monumental debate countered by a Cecil governor," Cecil Whig, July 11, 2015.
  42. ^ "City Council seeks to rename Robert E. Lee Park". WBAL-TV 11. July 21, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  43. ^ Reed, Sharon (June 23, 2015). "Baltimore County Seeks to Rename Robert E. Lee Park". Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  44. ^ Marc Shapiro, "Confederate Battle Flag Comes Under Fire," Jewish Times, July 2, 2015. Kamenetz had actually started "the name-changing process" before the Charleston shooting, but "the tragedy in Charleston prompted him and his staff to accelerate the process."
  45. ^ Wenger, Yvonne (July 17, 2015). "City legislation would rename Robert E. Lee Park". Retrieved October 4, 2015. The City of Baltimore, the park's official owner, had a bill in place to change the official name to Lake Roland Park as well.
  46. ^ Morgan Ome, "A legacy of anti-Semitism," Johns Hopkins News-Letter, March 3, 2016.
  47. ^ Campbell, Colin (May 16, 2016). "As Confederate symbols come down, 'Talbot Boys' endures". The Baltimore Sun.
  48. ^ Even with this name change, five Confederate memorials stand in the state, a commemorative license plate, and a street (Jobal Early Court) as noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in a 2015 report, "Whose Heritage?: Public Symbols of the Confederacy Archived August 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine." The five memorials in Rockville ("Confederate Monument"), Baltimore ("Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Spirit of the Confederacy)" monument, the "Confederate Women of Maryland" monument, and "Jackson and Lee Monument"), and Ellicott City ("Confederate Memorial"). The license plate is called the "Sons of Confederate Veterans Commemorative License Plate."
  49. ^ "Kamenetz Breaks Ground for Lake Roland Nature and Environmental Education Center". September 28, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  50. ^ Paw Point at Lake Roland.
  51. ^ Cara Ober, "Pull/Drift: An Interview with Clarissa Stowell Gregory by Cara Ober," Bmore Art, September 4, 2013.
  52. ^ Lake Roland Nature Council.
  53. ^ Art On The Trail.

External linksEdit