Chattolanee

Chattolanee, like many of the historic African American Communities in Baltimore County, Maryland, had its beginning during the slavery years. Research has not uncovered the true beginning of Chattolanee, only where the name came from. According to the history of the Green Spring United Methodist Church, provided by church historian, Mrs. Virginia Diggs White, Chattolanee is an Indian name meaning “clear water,” given by the Piscataway. The Baltimore County Democrat, December 28, 1889, indicated that the name was well-chosen, for the water came from rocks and sands, and became a true aqua pura, and as clear as crystal.

A particular area in Chattolanee was a famous health resort among the Susquehannas. Here they brought their sick and infirm, and considered these pure and crystal clear waters to be the nectar of life. The waters invigorated them and prepared them for the the hard work of the winter hunt.

The Catonsville Argus, August 24, 1889, reported that “a company of Baltimore gentlemen, among whom Mr. W. L. Stock was prominent, proposed to erect an expensive hotel in the Green Spring Valley. It is intended as a summer resort on a large scale, and is said that thirty cottages would be erected in the vicinity. The hotel will have a frontage of 225 feet and a depth of 250 feet, will be two stories in height, and will be of frame.” The hotel was eventually built and was extremely popular with the wealthy of the area. It is assumed that numerous African Americans were employed in the hotel as domestics.

Chattolanee is a historic Black community, consisting of approximately twelve or so homes. It is nestled along aristocratic Green Spring Valley Road in Garrison, Maryland, and is located approximately three miles north of Inter-State 695 (Baltimore Beltway). From the many springs in Chattolanee, water was bottled and shipped to places near and far.

After several interviews with Blacks who are still residing in Chattolanee, it appears that many Black people did not settle in Chattolanee until slavery ended. In an article in The Sun, October 18, 1978, Mr. Bradford Richard Reynolds Jr., whose roots in the Valley go back at least as far as those of most of his wealthy White neighbors, speaks to this. In 1978, Mr. Reynolds was living with his family in an old log cabin his great grandfather bought or built in the years following the Civil War. Mr. Reynolds noted in the article that, “At the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, the rich people were faced with the problem of seeing all the Blacks going off to the cities, so they made a deal. They told the Blacks, ‘We’ll build you a church and give you a little property to keep you working here.’”

The community contains an African American church, and at one time had two schools for the children of the community - a one-room school house and a stone school house. The stone school house still stands, but has been converted for a private home.