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Why Is Turnbull House Being Considered for Landmark Status?

Readers' questions about property prompts reporter to research its historic significance.

Earlier this week I reported that the Baltimore City Council is considering a bill adding the Grace Turnbull House to the city’s historic landmark list.

A couple of readers sent emails asking about the property's significance.

I was stumped.

So I called the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation and the Maryland Historical Society to get an idea of why this house, located at 223 Chancery Road in Guilford, was being considered for landmark status.

Mark Letzer, the society’s chief development officer, said Grace Turnbull, who was born in 1880 in Baltimore to a prominent area family, was a renowned sculptor and writer.

“She was quite the figure around town until the ‘70s,” Letzer said.

Grace’s brother, Bayrad Turnbull, designed the house based on a home in Spain, and its open floor plan was designed to help facilitate the creation of her artwork. According to state property records, the main building was completed in 1930. The property has several unique quirks such as the sculptures created by Turnbull at the house’s four corners.

After Turnbull’s passing, the Maryland Historical Society owned the property. But a few years ago the society decided it didn’t need another museum and sold it.

“We returned it to the family is what we really did,” Letzer said.  

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