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Glen Woods

WPA Poster

Glen Woods
(See Photos Below!)

      Glen Woods is a small park-like area on the campus of Towson University, and a fascinating relic from the New Deal era .  This 12-acre glen, surrounded by the modern buildings of the university, is peppered with numerous stone structures--a stone picnic table, several stone grilling platforms, a stone foot bridge, a stone pavilion with a fireplace, to name a few.  There are also a few informational placards that are in a bad state of disrepair (but, as of summer 2012, they have been removed for renovation).  Just enough text on one of the placards can be read to understand how Glen Woods came to be:

"Stella Brown's Dream:
Stella Brown had a dream that the Glen could be developed into an arboretum that could continue to be used for all its previous uses as well as becoming a community resource.  She and other faculty envisioned the construction of a few buildings for meeting as well as a set of trails from which students and the public could appreciate the planting.  About that time, the depression hit and many people lost their jobs.  To help these people survive, the federal government developed the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which among other things, built roads, sidewalks, sewage systems and park buildings in many cities and towns.  Realizing that the WPA might be a way to get the proposed Glen structures built, Lida
(indecipherable letters) Tall, head of the Normal School, and Stella Brown, with the general support of the institution, submitted a proposal.  The $55,000 proposal was approved in October of 1935, and by May of 1936, after obtaining an additional $19,000 supplemental budget, the project was completed."

     Fortunately, Glen Woods is currently undergoing a planned restoration.  Many future generations of Marylanders should be able to enjoy this great piece of New Deal history.  Hopefully Stella Brown's dream will endure.     

Photo credits: Unless otherwise noted, all black and white photos were taken by the WPA, are in the public domain, and provided courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.  All color photos--unless otherwise noted--were taken by Brent McKee.  Click here for more information on photo credits, permission to use, and exhibit descriptions

Above: Glen Woods was Maryland WPA project #319.  The largest structure built was this pavilion.  (Photographed September 1936) 

Above: The pavilion today.  It is not in horrible shape, but could still benefit from some restoration efforts.  The stone steps have been repaired.  (Photographed December 2011)

Above: The fireplace inside the pavilion.  (Photographed December 2011)

Above: An artificial pond was created in Glen Woods.  There appears to be little left of it (see next photo).  (Photographed April 1937)

Above: Barely recognizable, I believe this is what's left of the pond.  You can see the depressed area where the water used to be, and I noticed a small stone arched structure at the base of a nearby tree, similar to the arched structure you can see in the black and white photo above.  (Photographed December 2011)

Above: This structure originally served as a restroom.  (Photographed April 1937)  

Above: The restroom today.  (Since this photo was taken, the roof of the restroom has been repaired, and there are plans to utilize the building as a tool shed.)  (Photographed December 2011) 

Above: This damaged information placard tells of Stella Brown's dream.  (During the summer of 2012, the placard was removed for renovation.)  (Photographed December 2011)  

Above: This information placard was in worse shape, heavily damaged by vandalism and/or neglect.  It has also been removed for renovation.  (Photographed December 2011)

Above: This is one of three grilling platforms in Glen Woods.  (Photographed December 2011)

Above: Some sort of deteriorated stone structure.  (Photographed December 2011)

Above: An interesting and unique stone picnic table.  (Photographed December 2011)

Above: This stone cottage is the second largest structure in Glen Woods.  (Photographed December 2011)

Above: A foot bridge in Glen Woods.  (Photographed December 2011)  
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