Terra Maria Community

About Terra Maria

Terra Maria is a planned neo-traditional residential community of 105 homes located in Ellicott City, Maryland. The figurative and literal heart of the community is The Ruins -- the remains of a century-old seminary upon which the neighborhood is built.


1634 -- The Ark and the Dove arrive in the new proprietary colony of the 2nd Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert named Terra Maria or Maryland. The colony is named after the young English queen Henrietta Maria and will be known for its toleration of faiths.

1732 -- Edward Tully patents 73 acres of land in Upper Anne Arundel County. Tully names his patent Mary's Lott. Although remote in its location, it has the major advantage of fronting the Frederick Pike and sitting aside the Carroll family estate known as Doughoregan.


1764 -- Charles Carroll of Carrollton acquires Mary's Lott and it becomes part of Doughoregan Manor Enlarged. Twenty-four hundred acres and 54 room manor house with private chapel are still a residence of the Carroll family today.


1776 -- Charles Carroll of Carrollton signs the Declaration of Independence for Maryland. Thought to be the wealthiest man in the Americas, Carroll staked his fortune on the American Revolution. After the Revolution, Carroll becomes president of the Maryland Senate and divides his time between Doughoregan and Annapolis. At his death in 1832, he is the last surviving Signer and is laid to rest in the Family chapel at Doughoregan.


1799 -- Ambrose Marechal, the future third archbishop of Baltimore, and other Sulpician priests are frequent guests at Doughoregan, saying Mass there often and gaining the ear of the Signer. It is during subsequent years that a request of land is made for a minor seminary. Carroll, however, denies the request because he feels he cannot donate any part of his patrimony.

1830 -- Emily Caton MacTavish, favorite granddaughter of the Signer and sister of the "Three American Graces," convinces Carroll to give 253 acres to the Sulpician Fathers for the erection of a minor seminary - Saint Charles. She accomplishes this by suggesting he donate land that he had bought during his lifetime. Included is Mary's Lott, so aptly named for a gift to the Church, thought Carroll at the time.


1848 -- The first building of Saint Charles Seminary is completed and the college opens with the president, Father Oliver Jenkins; a deacon, Edward Caton; and four students.


1866 -- Our Lady of the Angels Chapel is completed after long delays caused by the Civil War. An imitation of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, the building is 110' long, 34' wide and 50' high. It is lavishly decorated mainly through the generosity of its first rector; Father Jenkins.


1898 -- A vastly enlarged Saint Charles College celebrates its 50th anniversary.


1898 continued -- The park-like grounds of Saint Charles looking southeast towards Frederick Road.


1911 -- Disaster strikes. The College is completely destroyed by fire. Miraculously, none of the 200+ faculty and students is killed or injured. Sacred vessels and vestments, along with thousands of priceless manuscripts and books are all lost. The burned-out shell is pulled down and the salvageable building materials are transported to Catonsville where the College is quickly rebuilt. All that remains standing are the ruins of the 1906 Recreation Hall.

1930 -- After various owners, the parcel becomes known as Brendel's Park. A theater and dining hall were added to the landscape, as well as several other smaller outbuildings. During these years, picnics and concerts were held on the grounds. There was also a revival camp situated on the property.

1978 -- Fifty-five of the original 73 acres of Mary's Lott are purchased from the estate of Charles Cook by Robert and Donna Lancelotta. The estate is renamed Terra Maria, the Latin translation of Mary's Lott, a residence built, pond constructed and all the existing buildings are refurbished. When they decide to develop the property, they turn to Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zybeck, designers of noted neo-traditional neighborhoods such as Seaside in Florida and the Kentlands in Gaithersburg, Maryland.


1992 -- Howard County approves plans for its first neo-traditional neighborhood, Terra Maria. The country has to alter many planning and zoning regulations to facilitate the town-like development. Later, the Lancelottas and Synergy Development team up to develop the project.


1996 -- The building of 102 homes begins with two builders, Arundel Woods and Pulte Homes.

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