MHT File Photo
120, Woodbrook Lane, Baltimore, Baltimore County
Tyrconnell is a 2 ½-story stone house set on 27 acres which contain several significant gardens. The house was designed in 1919, a Colonial Revival style, by the Baltimore firm of Mottu and White. The H-shaped building sits in a raised terrace; it faces south with projecting wings on the west (drawing room) and east (dining room and kitchen). It measures 147’ x 57’. The Colonial Revival style is evident in the overall form and details: door surround, Gothic arched dormers, tripartite window under an arched Lunette in the second floor, and the classical detailing and paneling throughout the principal rooms on the interior. In the basement are the foundations of the earlier O’Donnell family house on the site. Several four-panel doors on the second floor appear to be 19th century and to have been re-used from the earlier house. Also on the property are a frame garage (c. 1933) converted from the 1919 garage/stables and frame barn which contribute to the property. The interior decorative detailing is Colonial Revival in styling and massing. Tyrconnell sits on a 27-acre tract landscaped in the 1920s by the landscape architect Arthur Folsom Paul. The landscaping includes the entrance court, the west vista to Lake Roland, a terrace garden and vista north modeled on the Italian Renaissance garden at Villa d’Este, and a service area. Also on the property is a frame gardeners’ house, a grouping of four barns and a shed, a garage, and two stone spring houses, one circular, one rectangular. The spring houses and the garage date from the 19th century and the other buildings from about 1930. The property has a unilinear service road.
As an estate designed and developed in 1919 as the residence of a prominent businessman, Tyrconnell is significant primarily for association with patterns of suburban development in the Baltimore area in the first third of the 20th century. Consisting of a mansion in a well landscaped setting, Tyrconnell is typical of the upper-class residential estates built near the northwestern boundary, a region defined generally by York Road on the east and Reisterstown Road on the west. The region is commonly referred to as the "golden triangle." These properties are formally planned estates that consist of a mansion usually of Georgian or Colonial Revival style, the accepted style of the region, and positioned on a hill or another point of prominence with well defined entrance, terrace, garden, open lawn spaces, and service areas. The entrance and terrace areas are generally treated as part of the architectural design of the house providing a transition from the house to the setting. Gardens are usually formal and located in enclosed spaces visible from the house with evergreens and architectural features (balustrades, columns, statuary, etc.) as prominent points. Another important characteristic is the expanse of free open space such as the view from the west terrace at Tyrconnell to Lake Roland and the vista north from the west wing over the garden that is focused on a fountain nestled on the side of an evergreen covered hill. The houses and gardens were planned in tandem as one unit. Tyrconnell, with 27 acres, is the largest, and one of the best preserved examples of this type of estate in the Baltimore area. The estate achieves additional significance as the product of a collaboration between masters in architecture and landscape architecture. The house was designed by Mottu and White, a prominent Baltimore firm. The landscaping is the product of Arthur Folsom Paul, a Philadelphia landscape architect of national repute.