Special Collections continues our archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC's 50th, a special series showcasing 50 different objects that tell the story of UMBC. This week we present an aerial photograph from 1963 of the farmland UMBC would later be built upon.
Aerial Photograph of UMBC Property Looking North from Arbutus, 1963. UARC 2007-02. University Archives, Special Collections, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD)
The land on which UMBC is currently built was previously owned by the Baltimore Manual Labor School and later Spring Grove Hospital. Superintendent of the labor school, Edmund Stabler, kept the school operational from 1839 to 1922 with the purpose of instructing and supporting poor and orphaned boys from Baltimore City. The boys were taught how to read and were instructed in agriculture or other useful occupations in preparation to earn a living. When Spring Grove Hospital purchased the land after a fire in 1922, they used the farmland for a patient agricultural rehabilitation program.
When plans began for the expansion of the University of Maryland system in the 1940s and 1950s, the state looked to the acreage near Catonsville that included the former Baltimore Manual Labor School, the current Spring Grove Hospital, and additional adjacent tracts of land. After a long process, the Board of Regents approved official plans in the early 1960s and workers began construction on the new University of Maryland, Baltimore County.