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c. 1806–1813. 2201 Old Court Rd.
  • (Photograph by Alexander Heilner)
  • (Photograph by Alexander Heilner)
  • (Photograph by Alexander Heilner)

Established by physician Thomas Johnson as a commercial gristmill and worker’s village, Rockland speaks to the early industrial transformation of upper Baltimore, where the Jones Falls and its tributaries offered the prime location for water-powered mills. Their development was further facilitated by Oliver Evans’s innovative 1784 system of internal elevators and conveyers that mechanized production and significantly reduced labor requirements, and by the construction of the Falls Turnpike for the transport of goods to Baltimore harbor. Rockland village was established along the turnpike the year after it was completed. The stone mill is banked into the hill-side, retaining its waterwheel and remnants of the mill race. It was later converted to more lucrative cotton production, manufacturing printed calico fabric.

The village includes workers’ row houses, a miller’s house, tavern, gable-front general store, and blacksmith shop, all constructed of irregularly coursed stone. Built to attract workers to what was then a remote area, the row houses (c. 1820–1830) at 10106–10116 Falls Road form a continuous grouping of eight two- and three-story, two-bay units of four to six rooms each. Distinct from the workers’ housing is the side-hall-plan miller’s house (c. 1830; 10010 Falls).

A remnant of the farm upon which the village was built is the Chesapeake-style Turkey Cock Hall (c. 1730; 10131 Falls) that served as Johnson’s residence. His son William Fell Johnson later hired David Carlisle to build the imposing Greek Revival Rockland house (1837; 10214 Falls) that sits adjacent to the town. Now a quaint suburban community, Rockland is among the few remaining examples of an intact mill village.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie


What's Nearby


Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "ROCKLAND MILL VILLAGE", [Rockland, Maryland], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Maryland, Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022, 259-259.

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