Jennifer K. Cosham
Rockland Historic District
Falls (MD 25) & Old Court (MD 133) Roads, Lutherville-Timonium, Baltimore County
Situated along Falls Road, a few hundred yards west of the Jones Falls Expressway in Baltimore County, Rockland contains 15 buildings. These include a general store, tavern, the shell of a blacksmith shop, a carriage house, several log buildings, a group of stone rowhouses, a mill, and an 18th century dwelling. Although all of the original public buildings except the smithy have been converted into private dwellings, nothing has been done to change the integrity of their original exterior appearances.
Rockland, a village surrounded by interstate highways, is one of the surviving examples of a small, quiet, sylvan community of the early 19th century. It is caught in the midst of visual and aural pollution of 20th century technology. The extant industrial and domestic structures represent an aspect of the state’s social and economic past rapidly being disfigured and destroyed. The District contains a mill, a series of good examples of 19th century genre architecture, several commercial structures, and the Falls Turnpike Road, as well as being the former home of an innovational cotton printing process. The town grew up around the new Falls Turnpike Road, constructed c. 1806. Originally constructed by the Johnson family as a grist mill, the Rockland Mill turned to cotton production in 1830, and a stone dye house was erected. In 1836, the Maryland Print Works Company was incorporated to print cotton. However, the mill has a history frought with financial difficulty, and following a fire in 1857, numerous firms and individuals owned the Rockland Mill from the 1850s until 1927 when William Fell Johnson bought the property, bringing it back into the Johnson family. In industrial history the significant period of the Rockland Mill is its early years. The early cotton printing at Rockland was an innovational process, although not a financial success.