Ashland School (Baltimore County School No. 7)
200, Ashland Road, Cockeysville, Baltimore County
Baltimore County School No. 7 was constructed in 1882 atop a hill at the intersection of Ashland Road and Paper Mill Road, at the entrance to the village of Ashland, associated with the Ashland Iron Works. The structure is built of rough cut marble ashlar from the nearby Butler/Beaver Dam Quarry. The exterior reflects the influence of the Queen Anne style with gabled windows, elaborate cornice work, fan-shaped attic vents at the roof peak, and numerous large banks of multi-paned windows. While the exterior has remained largely unaltered, the interior of the building was altered in 1930 from the two-room schoolhouse configuration to that of an upscale private residence, still incorporating the 25-foot barrel-vaulted ceilings with exposed beams and trusses. Very attractive architectural details were added, such as a large foyer or reception hall paneled in Southern "gumwood" with Ebony beads with two sets of double French doors that lead into the two main rooms. The "great room" (living room) is wainscoted with the same "gumwood" paneling. All of the floors in the house are finished with 2" by 1" thick heart pine flooring all run on the diagonal. Also included in the 1930 conversion was an elegant stairway with unique wood and iron railings that lead to a loft that is enclosed by a glazed curtain wall with an unusual wedge-shaped door. Other notable features from the 1930 period are a beautiful stone fireplace with "Inglenook"-style sitting area across from it that together separate the dining room and great room. The dining room has several custom built-in cabinets that are Federal in style, and the walls are covered with a faux stone simulating varied stone blocks that was popularized in England in the 19th century.
The Ashland School is significant under Criterion C for its architectural character. Constructed in 1882 to the design of prominent Baltimore architect Frank E. Davis, it is a noteworthy example of the Queen Anne style applied to a rural school building. In its architectural elaboration and its substantial masonry construction, the building marks a departure from the standard frame school buildings that had been erected by the Baltimore County School Commissioners since the 1860s. Upon its removal from service in 1929, the interior of the building was remodeled as a private residence, and the high quality of the design and workmanship involved in this conversion is significant in its own right. The school derives additional significance under Criterion A for its association with the Ashland Iron Works, an early 19th century industrial enterprise in Baltimore County, and its company town; the school was constructed on property donated to the county by the iron company, and primarily served the children of immigrant iron workers resident in the company town.