Northern Central Railroad
Hereford Volunteer Association, Inc

Trail History - Monkton

In colonial Baltimore County, trade and civilization followed the river valleys. Travel was easier through the bottom lands and the rivers powered paper, grist, and saw mills. The Gunpowder River valley was just one of the early avenues pointing north from the Chesapeake to York, PA. The Northern Central Railroad began in 1828 as the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad.
Monkton, however, began as a small village nearly a century earlier and was called Charlotte Town at the time. Charlotte Town was part of Thomas Brerewood's 10,000 acre "My Lady's Manor". Brerewood had received My Lady's Manor from his daughter-in-law, Charlotte. Charlotte Town flourished as the dominant town of My Lady's Manor between 1740-1770. Robert Cumins, a wealthy miller in the Revolutionary War era, renamed the town after a place in Nova Scotia where he had settled in 1765 which was called Monckton. The "c" in Monckton was later dropped by area residents.

Several stone structures located in the area date from the mid to late 1700's and were built of stone quarried from north of Monkton Station. The brick structures you see today were built during the mid to late 1800's. Historic buildings include the 1873 2-room schoolhouse just east along Monkton Road (most recently used as a small Baptist Church), the 1858 hotel/general store, a town hall building, the station master's house, and the 1898 train station. An earlier, smaller station had been built in 1840.

With the advent of the automobile, more people began to move into big cities. Trucks began to move much of the goods formerly traveling by rail. With these changes of the early and mid 1900's, Monkton and the railroad began a gradual slide into decline. In 1980, the Department of Natural Resources acquired the abandoned Northern Central Railroad right of way to be turned into a recreational pathway. The restored Monkton Station now serves as a visitor center for the Northern Central Railroad Trail or the “Hike-Bike Trail" as it is known to the area residents.

The Monkton Hotel provided a respite for the well-to-do of Baltimore City to escape from the heat, smell, and diseases of the summer. Those who could afford to would travel out into the country and stay in hotels. This circa 1870 photo shows that the hotel once featured a magnificent 2-story porch.