Baltimore County, Maryland

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Reisterstown is a census‑designated place in Baltimore County. The Reisterstown Post Office is located at 5 Glyndon Drive, Reisterstown, MD 21136

Reisterstown as described in 1940 [1]

In Reisterstown, old stone houses are set close to the road, while more modern bungalows and ordinary two-story frame houses are hidden behind clumps of young maples. When John Reister, a German immigrant, acquired 20 acres of land just north of Cockeyes Mill Road from the Calvert family in 1758, he named the tract Reister's Desire. The settlement that developed was largely made up of Reister's children and their families. In 1768 a nearby piece of land was purchased by Daniel Bower, also of German descent, whose children joined those of John Reister.


With the completion of the Reisterstown Road from Baltimore to Gettysburg and Hanover, this became a regular stopping-off place for passengers. Among the inns established here to care for the traffic was Forney Tavern, noted for the excellence of its liquors and food and patronized by 'persons of wealth and fashion.' The Bower Inn, a commodious log house built about 1770, had rooms named for prominent towns.

Beckley's Blacksmith Shop and the Polly Reister House, SW. corner of Main St. and Cockey's Mill Road is a two-and-a-half-story brick house with a one-story wing, erected in 1779. Originally the house and the blacksmith shop were separated by a lane. The land on which the house was built was given by John Reister to his son-in-law John Beckley, the village blacksmith.

Directly across Main St. is the Yellow Tavern built about 1804 by Jacob Medairy. It was also called the Spite House because Medairy built it to block the new road through the town. His efforts were of no avail for the roadmakers went around the house, causing the bend in the road at this point.

On Cockey's Mill Road (which follows the Indian trail from Patapsco Falls) two blocks L. off Main St. is the old Lutheran Cemetery surrounded by a brick wall. It developed around a log cabin used in 1765 for Lutheran services.

By the cemetery is the old Franklin Academy, now a garage. This school was established in 1820 on ground deeded by John Reister in 1773. In 1897 it became the first public high school in Baltimore County. It is said that when Edgar Allan Poe was eking out a livelihood in Baltimore, he answered Franklin Academy's advertisements in the Baltimore Patriot and Federal Gazette for a principal but was rejected.

Opposite the Post Office on Main St. is Chatsworth, a two-story stuccoed house built about 1770 by Colonel Daniel Bower, son of John Bauer. Under each of the three front rooms is a cellar; to the rear are the smokehouse and springhouse, the latter built over a spring long used by Indians.

  1. Works Progress Administration, Federal Writers' Program, Maryland: A Guide to the Old Line State, American Guide Series, University of Maryland, 1940.

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