Turner’s Hall, the tract of land that was to become the Williamsburg community, has a rich and varied history. The first recorded owner, Thomas Johnson, purchased the land mid-way between Sudbrook Park and Villa Nova in 1783. Over the next 177 years the deed to this property had been inherited and transferred more than twenty times according to Baltimore County tax records.
The residence built on this land provides us with an interesting story. The mansion built by Johnson in 1785, eventually became known as “Twaisky Hall” in 1827. The estate was then purchased by the Ferguson family in 1851 and took on the name of The Ferguson Place and latter The Ferguson-Stein Place.
The home which sat on about 200 acres of land was actually described in an article written by W.W. Williams in The Jeffersonian Newspaper on April 30, 1932. Williams wrote that the walls of the house were made of stone stuccoed over with a thickness of 24-28 inches. He described the house as having a high sloping roof, dormer windows, immense towering chimneys…”so that it looked very much like a castle.” The interior of the four story home was divided into sixteen spacious rooms and the basement which had ceilings ten feet high housed a great wine cellar. He noted that to the north of the house, which faced due west, there were slave quarters built of stone and roofed with tiles which were said to have come from England. To the south of the house was a large square spring house.
At some point, two great porches were added to the house as well as four different entrances with colonial style doors. The “castle” effect was diminished by this but the porches were so impressive that according to written records, anyone who had ever seen the house would have remembered them.
In the 1950’s Johnson’s great house gave way to bulldozers and the 200 acre tract of land originally purchased by Thomas Johnson, became the property upon which the Williamsburg community was built. Developed by Jerome Kahn and Edward F. Shepter the development grew to over 300 homes. It’s interesting to note that in an agreement with Baltimore County the developers donated the land upon which Bedford E.S. was built, the surrounding property of the school and the recreational area between it and Sudbrook M.S.
In the mid 1990’s residents of the community including Lee Fleishman, Mike Peisach and others began organizing volunteer patrols in order to enhance the safety of the community. They financed this activity out of their own pockets meeting at the home of Mr.Fleishman who had originated the patrol program. It was only after that, that the Williamsburg Community Association was organized and incorporated under the leadership of its first president Evelyn Anderson. Evelyn was followed in that position by Mike Peisach, the late Kem Martin and John Seymour. Since that time various members of the community have stepped in to lead the association including: Maxine Rubin, Carolyn Harrison, David Parris, Ann Griffin, and currently Glen Charlow. The Association was organized out of a need to increase a sense of community and support law enforcement in an attempt to keep our neighborhood safe.
The mission of the Association is to enhance the quality of life in our community by: maintaining property values, policing zoning laws, improving safety, disseminating information, promoting neighborliness and social activities for the benefit of the community and its individual residents.
*Special Thanks to Evelyn Anderson and Mike Peisach for providing records and memories in order to reconstruct this narrative.
*Note: Anyone having information or corrections to this entry is urged to contact the site’s webmaster.
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