Warren Maryland – A Forgotten Town Flooded by Baltimore City

Last updated on November 2nd, 2023 at 09:20 am

In 1920, Warren MD was one of the most productive and vibrant towns in Baltimore County. By 1922 it had been leveled and flooded under 45 feet of water.

Warren Maryland – A Forgotten Town Flooded by Baltimore City

Like most people who grew up in Baltimore County, I was a regular visitor to the Loch Raven Reservoir. Fishing, hiking, bird-watching, and feeding the area’s resident Canadian Geese are all on the menu.

What I didn’t know is that when I was visiting the reservoir, I was also visiting the town of Warren, Maryland.

Loch Raven’s Mysteries

Like most wilderness areas, Loch Raven has its share of legends and stories. Among them are various Bigfoot sightings, ghosts, and even a long history of UFO sightings.

When I was younger, friends used to say that there was a town under Loch Raven Reservoir. A town that had been flooded when the Gunpowder river was dammed up. As it turns out… that legend is true!

Loch Raven’s Ruins

Anyone who’s hiked or mountain biked the areas in the immediate vicinity is familiar with the area’s assortment of old buildings in ruins. What most of them don’t know is that these ruins are the remains of the town of Warren MD which was flooded when the Loch Raven dam height was raised by over 50 feet.

Loch Raven ruins warren
The bits of many leftover structures from the flooded city of Warren are peppered in the hills and woods surrounding the modern watershed | Image Credit: hiveminer.com

The Town of Warren Maryland

In 1920, Warren was one of the most productive and vibrant towns in Baltimore County. By 1922 it had been leveled and flooded under 45 feet of water.

The town was owned by the Summerfield Baldwins who ran the Warren Manufacturing Company. The town had 900 residents who ran 2 mills. Warren was a major textile producer and an industrial hub for Baltimore County.

Warren MD Loch Raven Town
Warren MD photos: one of the best images of Warren during the town’s operation | Image Credit: Pinterest

That all changed in 1922 when the City of Baltimore purchased the town in order to flood the property to increase the size of the reservoir. The nearby town of Phoenix, MD was also sold but was eventually spared of flooding and still exists today.

The Warren Cotton Mill shut down on February 15, 1922, and by the end of that same year, the town was gone.

Warren MD Covered Bridge
Covered wooden bridge at the Warren Factory

This covered bridge was destroyed in an 1895 flood. This image is part of the collection of historic photographs of Catonsville, Maryland USA owned by the Baltimore County Public Library, 1100 Frederick Road, Catonsville Maryland 21228 USA. 410-887-0951. [email protected]

Warren Factory iron bridge 1922-1923: This bridge was built in place of the covered bridge that was destroyed in an 1895 flood. This image is part of the collection of historic photographs of Baltimore County, Maryland USA owned by the Baltimore County Public Library, Towson Maryland USA.
Warren Factory iron bridge 1922-1923

This bridge was built in place of the covered bridge that was destroyed in an 1895 flood. This image is part of the collection of historic photographs of Baltimore County, Maryland USA owned by the Baltimore County Public Library, Towson Maryland USA.

Life in Warren wasn’t unlike life in other manufacturing towns at the turn of the century. The majority of the town’s residents were also the employees. Travelling far from home was a rarity.

Warren Manufacturing Company store and Main Street, 1908
Warren Manufacturing Company store and Main Street, 1908 | Image Credit: Pinterest

The town had a school, church, homes, shops, and it’s own Main Street. A resident might spend the majority of their life inside the town or in close proximity.

There Was Even a Castle!

Believe it or not, there really was a castle. The Glen Ellen estate wasn’t flooded out by the reservoir, but the property was abandoned and quickly declined after the flood. It was eventually demolished.

Glen Ellen Castle during its prime. The largest tower was about 63 ft tall. | Image Credit: Baltimore County Public Library
Glen Ellen Castle during its prime. The largest tower was about 63 ft tall. | Image Credit: Baltimore County Public Library

Looking at those old pictures makes me kind of sad. Warren may have become an even more important town to the area had it not been flooded out. The fact that it’s existence seems to be all but forgotten is disappointing.

So if you live in Baltimore County, the next time you visit Loch Raven think about what used to be there in the town of Warren. It’s pretty intriguing to think about the children who played in its streets and went to its school, the people who lived out their lives in its factories, and the families who prayed in its church.

There really is a town under all that water – even if it barely exists in our collective memory.

References and additional reading:

Maryland Covered Bridges

‘Poems of Warren’ tells story of town lost under waters of Loch Raven Reservoir

Hidden Histories of Baltimore County

The Loch Raven Castle – A brief history

Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He's also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.

15 thoughts on “Warren Maryland – A Forgotten Town Flooded by Baltimore City”

  1. There was also the B&O railroad just adjacent. I go there everyday. Think about it. On the Mason-Dixon Line, cotton manufacture co.
    Could there have been a conflict between the North and the South over the cotton which was the main money maker for the south and the railroad for the North supply line?

    1. The B&O Railroad was never anywhere near the town of Warren, which was about 2 miles east of Cockeysville and about 5 miles north of Towson. The Northern Central Railroad ran thru Baltimore County west of York Road, roughly parallel to I-83 in the Cockeysville area. There was an NCRR Freight Depot in Cockeysville which the Warren Manufacturing Co. used to ship finished goods and receive raw materials in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries. It is more than 20 miles south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

  2. Serena Yarbrough

    Wow. Love that you investigated this. Awesome.! I grew up in Loch Raven, graduated from LR High. My father always told me stories about this town. Also showed me a spot where … He said we could see the tippy top of the poor drowned church. I remember the spot , one day I’ll have to go out and look to see with my adult eyes. Lol. Neat stuff. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Thanks for reading my article about Warren 🙂 From what I have read, the last visible piece of Warren was a flagpole that was still above the water but that’s been gone for a long time now.

    2. The image which contains the quote “One of the best images of the town during its operation” is actually an image of the town in 1922 when the town was being ‘disassembled’. The evidence for this is seen in the new, modern day Warren road in the right foreground, the old grist mill – the roof is gone as is a portion of the roof in the house next to the school. The photo’s date is also visible in the left corner. The area was entirely flooded by 1923.
      Nice article on the area.

    3. The church actually wasn’t flooded. The foundation remains sit on the north side of the bridge on the south bound lane side near a small parking area there. If you are traveling northbound on Warren Road and cross the bridge, immediately park on the left side at the bridge. Walk slightly down hill from that spot and look for the old Juliet Memorial Chapel (named for Juliet Baldwin- a member of the mill owner’s family who died.
      The Chapel is literally within 30 to 40 feet of that parking area.
      Back in the day, the Chapel overlooked the homes on the Main Street near the mill and had really nice fields where people picnicked. I have some old photo copies from the Baltimore County Legacy Web of the Chapel area and people picnicking on the fields near there!!!!

  3. Nice article.
    Looking at repeated problems from rains in Ellicott City, another town in a canyon, I suspect Warren might’ve had periodic problems long term. Incidentally the house I live in in Hydes was once owned by H Street Baldwin an influential politician

    1. Thanks for reading my article. I totally agree. I’m sure any town like Warren in a low-lying area would have flooding issues but right now in Maryland it seems like we’re in uncharted territory as far as record rainfall and flash flooding is concerned.

      1. Thats wild to here .. l look at a house to buy on baldwin mill road two door over from the old railroad stop shack they are working on now and across from the machine ward bldg., they told me it was move out of flood area and place there on little over four acres. I grew up in North Linthicum and Agnes 1971 or 72 hit us hard there two mor steps and would have reach second floor after two more floods hit us they brought 17 homes and tore down .. took my kids by there when they were young to show them where l live just property now no houses.

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