Our neighborhood is bordered by Hillen Road on the north and east; the Country Club of Maryland on the south; and Stevenson Lane on the west. In addition, the neighborhood encompasses the 400 block of Oak Lane and Jacobo Lane (a cul de sac accessed from Hillen Road). There are a total of 138 homes in the neighborhood. The Fellowship Forest Community Association was officially incorporated in March of 1946.
The core of Fellowship Forest is the result of the joining of two estates. In 1924, S. Duncan Black, founder of Black and Decker Inc., moved with his wife and three daughters (Betty, Charlotte and Alice) to “Fellowship”, an estate purchased from Mrs. Snyder which included the entire Stevenson Lane area of present day Fellowship Forest from Oak Lane to Dogwood Lane. Then, in 1938, Black purchased the property at 513 Club Lane, known as Faraway. Together these two properties make up the original core community of Fellowship Forest.
The original main house of the Fellowship estate was a large Victorian home which stood near 1204 Stevenson Lane. The outbuildings of the estate included a laundry house; a stable at 1206 Stevenson Lane; a gardener’s house at 1209 Stevenson Lane; and a greenhouse located between 1208 and 1210 Stevenson Lane.
When the Black family moved to Fellowship in 1924, Stevenson Lane was unpaved and turned at what is presently Dogwood Lane. Four or five years later it was cut straight through to Hillen Road. Traveling east from Rodgers Forge, there were seven houses on the lane including Fellowship. The Rodgers had a forge at the intersection of York Road and Stevenson Lane, and the Rodgers family lived in a house where Holly Hill Manor Nursing Home now stands. A house near Sonachan Terrace was owned by Professor Erbach who taught at City College. Wiltondale was a farm owned by Wilton Greenway and Knollwood was the site of another Victorian home. The Country Club of Maryland at that time was a dairy farm owned by the Stevenson Family. A home situated at 1104 Stevenson Lane was also one of the seven.
The whole of Oak Lane was an orchard and garden. They raised asparagus and rhubarb, which Betty Apsey (Mr. Black’s daughter) remembered selling while a student at Goucher. Extending along Burke Avenue from Stevenson Lane to York Road was the Towson Nursery. The reservoir in those days was only a quarter of its current size. During WWII, armed guards patrolled the reservoir so that the water could not be poisoned.
In 1929, Betty Apsey and her husband, Jack, built their home at 1210 Stevenson Lane. Another of Mr. Black’s daughters, Charlotte, built the white colonial house at the corner of Oak and Stevenson Lanes, now 1200 Stevenson Lane, prior to WWII.
During the Depression, the three Black daughters moved back home with their families, and each had their own apartment in the main house. There were four grandchildren: Ann, Nancy, Fielding and Ridgley. Fellowship proved too big for Mr. and Mrs. Black after all the children were again settled in their own homes. Because of Mr. Black’s fondness for the location, in 1939 he built the stone house which now stands at 1204 Stevenson Lane. The Victorian was torn down but the mirrors and banisters were used in the new home.
In the mid-1930’s, Black remodeled the gardener’s cottage at 1209 Stevenson Lane for one of his daughters. After her tenure, the house was owned by Mrs. Murray and her housekeeper/companion Clarabel who was well loved in the community and organized July Fourth parades throughout the neighborhood.
Mr. Black loved to build, and the development of Fellowship Forest was his hobby. Beginning in the early 1940’s, he built one house at a time with an architect named Mr. Mennifee and a country builder, Benny Bull. The first home he built was 609 Hillen Road. Working with Black, Mennifee and Bull, 1211 Stevenson Lane was built for Dorothy and Parks Adams. No tree under a certain diameter could be cut without Black’s approval, and no fence, hedges or outbuildings were allowed. When the Adams’ moved into 1211 Stevenson, the following houses were recently or soon-to-be-completed: 609 Hillen Rd, 601 Hillen Rd, 501 Dogwood La, 1207 Stevenson Lane, 1205 Stevenson Lane, 500 Club Lane and 502 Club Lane. The house at 506 Club Lane was built independently of Mr. Black before the houses were built on Hillen Road.
The Victorian home at 513 Club Lane, Faraway, was owned by the Lewis Family. When Mr. Lewis died, Mr. Black bought this property to protect the area; and later Black’s daughter, Alice, married Fielding Lewis. The stone, garden house (625 Valley Lane) was originally a one room building Mrs. Lewis used as an art studio. There was a formal garden from 513 Club Lane down to the pond. The pond was not walled or as well defined back then, but was used by children for ice skating in the winter. After Black’s death, the land by the pond was bought and developed by Mr. Persico.
During WWII, residents at the end of Valley Lane had Victory Gardens, and women took first aid classes at Eudowood Sanitarium. The railroad came through the Hillen Road area, and before it was abandoned, people were invited to ride the flat beds to York, Pennsylvania.