Walking Tour North (60 min)
1. Bel Air Methodist Episcopal Church, 20 North Main Street
Originally constructed in 1888 using a standard catalog plan for Methodist churches, this impressive structure was transferred to the County in 1968 when the congregation moved to S. Main Street.
2. Graham Crocker House, 30 North Main Street
This nicely preserved building's exterior is typical of the houses constructed during the Jacksonian period both in Bel Air and in the nearby countryside. Built circa 1825, it is the third oldest house in town.
3. James-Kennedy House, 108 N. Bond Street
Built in 1914, this house is typical of the many shotgun style units in this part of Bel Air. The style got its name because "one could fire a shotgun through all the rooms in a row."
4. Alice Anne & Williams Streets
From the last decades of the 19th century into the early 20th, modest utilitarian housing was constructed along this street. Built by workmen for their own lining quarters or built for rental properties, thy are part of a larger national picture.
5. The Wren Box, 304 Williams Street
This charming Colonial Revival cottage, built in 1917 for Josephine Amos, features stone from Lake Fanny Hill as well as classic Doric columns.
6. Liriodendron, 502
West Gordon Street
Liriodendron was the summer retreat for Hopkins surgeon and noted member of the Big Four, Dr. Howard Kelly and his family. Its ample proportions and high style of design suggest the way of life of the wealthy at the turn of the 20th century.
7. The Reckord Mill, 432 Rockspring Avenue
The Reckord Industrial complex, started in 1886, was composed of a mill, an office, a warehouse and a shed. For Bel Air the complex is historically important both in architecture and in economics.
8. First Presbyteria (sic) Church, 224 N. Main Street
This attractive Gothic Revival church was designed by architect George Archer, a Harford native with a professional practice in Baltimore. The original 1881 structure burned in 1936, but was rebuilt that same year using the original blueprints.
9. Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Main Street and Broadway
Wyatt and Nolting, a prominent Baltimore architectural firm, designed the church in 1896. Although it is called Gothic Revival, there is much of the Romanesque in it.
10. East Broadway
This was the tree-lined street where Bel Air families of substance lived and local master builders set a dignified pattern for the residences in the 19th century. We call it Victorian; although there were Queen Anne designs and Colonial Revival features here and there.
Proctor House, 54 East Gordon Street
This is one of the most unusual residences in Town. Built in 1865, it is classified as Carpenter Gothic in style and features a unique board and batten construction.
12. Bel Air Academy, 45 E. Gordon Street
This was the first brick school building in Harford County. The first portion was constructed in 1882 when the original Bel Air Academy was absorbed into the public school system.
13. Bel Air Post Office, 143 N. Main Street
Built in 1936 as part of the Roosevelt Administration's WPA efforts to revive the economy during the Depression era, the building now houses the Historical Society of Harford County.
14. Hopkins House, 141 North Main Street
John Thomas Chew Hopkins built this handsome Victorian house for his southern bride in 1879. His wealth and position dictated its large size and original features, and his refined taste prevented any inappropriate ostentation.
Walking Tour South (30 min)
1. Harford County Courthouse and Square, South Main Street
Courthouse Square is the hub and heart of Bel Air life that differentiates it from other Harford towns. Bel Air has had a courthouse since 1791. The present building was erected after a fire in 1858 and was enlarged in 1904 and again in 1981.The square has buildings on either side (West Courtland
and Office Streets) that, through adaptive reuse, accommodate banking, legal, civic and commercial interest. Most date from the post-Civil War period with numerous later additions and renovations.
2. Bel Air Armory, 37 N. Main Street
The Armory resembles a medieval castle with all the effects needed to make it appear permanent and impregnable. The rusticated exterior, built of Port Deposit granite, features two great octagonal towers with cobrels and battlements and between them is a wide segmental-arched portal.
3. Bel Air Academy, 24 East Pennsylvania Avenue
Built in 1814, many important countians attended this school for their classical education. It was originally an unadorned four-bay structure with the door in the far left bay and the indispensable school bell in a lantern on the ridge pole.
4. Odd Fellows Lodge (First Presbyterian Church), 21 East Pennsylvania Avenue
This Greek Revival building was built in 1852 when the style had swept the country (how-to pattern books helped the proliferation), it was the only Greek temple facade design in Bel Air.
5. Fulford Cottage, 20 E. Fulford Avenue
The Little Stone House, as it is known, was originally a carriage house or stable and later a soft drink bottling plant; then it served numerous other functions. The date of construction is uncertain with guesses ranging
from 1789 to 1823.
6. Van Bibber House, 303 S. Main Street
This building is the oldest in Town still on its original site. Built by John Bull in 1789 in a three-bay, side-hall plan of two stories. Teh Van Bibber House has functioned as a residence, a female seminary, a Presbyterian manse, a surgery and an office building.
7. Hays House, 324 Kenmore Avenue
Built in 1788 by John Bull, and enlarged by Thomas Hays in 1814, this is the oldest house in Bel Air. A portion of the house was moved to its present site in 1960, leaving the 2 story stone ell Hays addition to demolition. It was registered as a National Historic site in 1980 and now serves as a house museum.
8. Bel Air Colored High School, 205 Hays Street
This utilitarian frame structure, partially funded by the Rosenwald Foundation, was built as a grade school in 1924. In 1935, it became Bel Air's high school for African Americans. The building, now owned by Harford County, is used for meetings and displahy purposes.
9. Hanway-Archer-Forwood House 200 South Main Street
This Queen Anne style was designed and built in 1901 b Henry D. Hanway, an innkeeper. Similar structures once lined Main Street but were lost in the mid-20th century as the area became a larger commercial center.
10. First Aegis Building, 119 S. Main Street
In 1871, the publishers
of The Aegis built this structure to meed the needs of its expanding newspaper circulation. The paper operated from this location until 1905 when it moved to a larger building on Courtland Street.
11. Office & Courtland Streets
The buildings lining these streets provided the center point for Bel Air's political, economic and social life; housing lawyers, factors, inns and banks from the Town's earliest days to the present.