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Linover History


Tom Bailey, a former Linover resident for thirty-six years, originally wrote an excellent article titled “A Brief History of Linover Park”. The article was published 1997 in the Linover Association newsletter. Our sincere thanks go out to Tom for his contribution.

While preparing for the celebration of the Linover Associations 50th anniversary, Carroll Pupa, the Historian for the celebration, had discovered many details about Linover park during his review of meeting minutes, committee reports and newsletters from 1955 to the present time. We then decided to include these details as well as notes from interviews with former officers and folks who were part of the history of Linover.

In the following pages, I will tell the history of Linover Park from its beginnings to its importance to the community today. I hope you’ll enjoy the stories and facts that we gathered during the planning of Linover’s 50th anniversary. If you are a long time resident of Linover, I hope this brings back fond memories of your experiences at Linover Park. If you are a new resident of Linover, I hope it will inspire you to become involved in your community.

The Beginning

Dale Anderson, builder, Baltimore County Councilman, acquired the property now known as Linover Park. The property was largely an undeveloped field that at one time (according to some folks) contained a great array of commercial flowerbeds. Due to it’s lying in the floodplain of Stemmers Run and being transgressed by the huge high voltage power lines, the land was of questionable value for residential development so the land remained undeveloped and unused for a few years. Dale Anderson offered to donate this land to the county, but probably due to the cost of maintaining it, Baltimore County rejected his offer.

When most of the community of Linover was finished being built in late 1954, the residents of the growing community saw the need for additional space to provide recreation for their growing families. The residents of the Linover Association recognized the potential for the seemingly “worthless land” and began pushing for it’s acquisition. At an executive meeting of the association on November 24, 1958, then President Jim Cullen proposed that Baltimore County purchase the land as a recreational area for the residents of Linover. Discussions for converting the land for recreation continued for many years after that.

Finally after 8 years of Linover residents pushing to turn the land into recreational use, the County purchased the property in 1963 and began to develop the park. In August 1964, an entrance was made at Terrace drive that included steps constructed down the hillside and a bridge over Stemmers Run. Of course, Linover folks went into action as volunteers John Bentz, Joe Kaufman, and Abbie Pasternokas erected the flagpole, which stand to this day. Under the supervision of Abbey Pasternokas, and at a cost of $ 15.82 each, ten picnic tables were built for the picnic area at the park.

The County built a pavilion, which was not fully enclosed and later became a storage area for athletic equipment. Not satisfied with this, Abbie Pasternokas and others put flooring in the upper part of the building that was used as a storage area for the Linover Associations records. The playground equipment was purchased and installed by the Improvement Association. In June 1965 Ed Grammer planted a Norway spruce tree at the entrance to the park on Terrace Drive. The tree served as the centerpiece for the annual lighting ceremonies at Christmas (began by Dan Winiecki) until it grew too large to decorate. The tree, decked with yellow ribbons was the focus of a prayer service hosted by Father Tewes.

The Dedication

On June 15, 1966, Baltimore County formally dedicated the park as “Linover Park”. There was large formal ceremony held that was attended by Congressman Clarence W. Long, Baltimore County Executive Dale Anderson, and Linover President John Todd of Lyndale Ave. The Baltimore County Recreation and Parks representatives in attendance were James Overtoom (Area Director) and John Baggett (local supervisor).

The Skating Pond

In 1965, the Improvement Association under the leadership of John Hughes, Buck Tudor, and Joe Amereihn began a project to create an ice skating pond on a piece of land north of Stemmers Run. Baltimore County agreed to scrape out a portion about 18” deep around a third of an acre of the property to resemble a shallow crater, and the dream started to become a reality.

The Association provided the funds to purchase a water pump that would move the water from Stemmers Run into the scraped out indentation in the ground that we called our skating pond. Due to the persistence of Joe Amereihn, he convinced Len Dernoga to give a weekly donation that was used to “refresh” the volunteers who would construct a brick building to store the pump. The bricklayer was Howard Krause who during his regular job was a Baltimore County Police Officer. God Bless you Howard, the building is still there. The roof of the pumphouse was concrete and was poured at no cost to Linover by the fellow who owned and operated the golf driving range a short distance from Linover Park.

Joe Kaufman, another Terrace Drive resident became the de-facto caretaker of the pond. He insured the piping was in good shape to get the water from the stream to the pond, kept the ice free of debris and suitable for skating, and made sure the fires burned nightly in the metal drums to warm the skaters. John Bentz provided the wood consumed on those cold winter nights.

Bob Heiger of Lyndale Ave. envisioned the hill on the northern side of the skating pond would make an excellent sledding hill, and the land was cleared, graded and ready for use. The association placed some benches around the pond to allow the folks to put on their skates. By December 1965, all we needed was cold weather and snow. As I recall, that particular winter (1965-1966) was colder and wetter than most years.

In 1966, the pond was enlarged twice its original size. In 1971, volunteers by the likes of Dan Chetlat, Charlie Smith, Ed Petter, and Joe Kaufman erected a light pole and electric near the pumphouse. Lighting came later to the sledding and skating areas.

In the late seventies or early eighties, vandals set the pumphouse on fire, broke in, and destroyed the pump. The County agreed to take over the filling of the pond, but for a variety of reasons, the pond area fell into disrepair and is now overgrown with wild grass and shrubs.

Thanks to all who gave of their time and talent in making the skating and sledding area a place of enjoyment unlike any other park I know of in Baltimore County.

The Playground and Picnic Areas

At the same time the skating pond preparation was going on in 1965, Linover volunteers were also busy acquiring the playground equipment that was eventually placed in the southern end of the park in an area well shaded by large trees. As mentioned earlier in the article, Linover volunteers did a flagpole, water fountain, and enhancements to the building. The county supplied the grills that are anchored in the ground. The stream and playground equipment was like magnets to the many young children living in Linover. The county constructed a baseball diamond at the northwest corner of the park and not long after added the multi purpose basketball court.

I can remember, as I am sure many of you can, taking my children to the park in warm weather to enjoy the playground, or going in the fall to gather the large acorns that dropped.

In the early days of the Association, family picnics were held at various shores and other parks, such as Double Rock. After Linover Park was created, Linover held their family picnics here in June for many years. The annual picnics would draw up to 400 families some years and there were always lots of food and drink for everyone. Some of the dads would organize sack races, contests, and all kinds of things that families enjoyed. The picnics gave everyone an opportunity to meet folks on other streets and some formed friendships that last today. In the course of gathering information for this article, a number of folks mentioned the picnic that took place in 1970. The night before the picnic some of Dick Minnicks’ helpers dropped off ten pound pieces of beef to neighbors instructing, them to slow roast them in the oven at a low temperature. The next morning they were instructed to bring the half-cooked roasts to Linover where the “chefs” would finish the roasting the beef over charcoal. As usual, the meat was cooked to perfection in time to serve to the large crowd that came to the picnic. They also served hamburgers and hot dogs, and as usual, no one went home hungry.

One of the highlights of that day was a fast pitch softball game between Linover people rounded up at the picnic and the National Brewery Club. Their roster consisted of a mix of professional athletes from the Baltimore Colts, the Baltimore Clippers, and some good ball players who were employed by the Brewery. A couple of the people who were from the neighborhood but played for the Natty Boh team were Chuck Fowler and George Barger. I cannot remember all of the names of the Linover team, but a few of them were Chuck Kropfelder, Buzz Betz, Ed Simon, Ernie Nuetzel, Phil Davis, and I. Linover wasn’t given much of a chance to win the game as the brewery team toured all over Baltimore playing exhibitions. When the game started only a handful of spectators came to the ball diamond to watch their local heroes. Aside from Buzz Betz being hit in the head on the first pitch of the game, the first few innings were scoreless. I recall we took the lead halfway through the game and the news spread to the crowd in the picnic area. Sensing an upset, most of the crowd at the picnic lined both sides of the field and cheered us on. When we recorded the last out you would have thought we just won the seventh game of the World Series against the Yankees. A lot of us slept well that night!

Park Dances

The Association was always looking for different ways to get folks interested in participating in fundraisers, so in 1968 the first park dance was held on the basketball court at the park. As I recall, we were very fortunate the first year since the weather cooperated and the Dance was a success. The committee comprised of Jerry Bockstie, and Bill DeVaughn did a great job. I remember the Chinese lanterns that surrounded the dance area. It made you forget you were on a basketball court.

We had two more dances there, but the weather failed to cooperate and the Idea was abandoned. One of the dances was about ready to start when there was a tremendous thunderstorm and the rain date was the next afternoon at two o’clock, which was Sunday. The temperate was around 90 degrees, but it felt like a 100 on the Basketball surface.

The Easter Egg Hunt

One of the events the younger children enjoyed the most was the annual Easter egg hunt that was held every year at Linover Park. For many years volunteers of the Association spent the night before hard-boiling and dyeing about ninety dozen eggs the night before the event. Chuck Kropfelder of Sipple Ave. went to an egg farm for many years to pick up the eggs. For the most part the weather cooperated, but at times, it was cold and wet (or muddy), but the children did not seem to care. As a parent seeing them search for the eggs, finding them, and winning a prize was truly a blessing to watch.

Ball Fields

The athletic field looks different than it’s original configuration. The growth of youth sports in the Overlea Fullerton area starting in the late 1960’s, the baseball diamond was removed, and the field was configured a little larger than it originally was to accommodate the introduction of youth Lacrosse and Soccer. Both Overlea Soccer and Lacrosse call Linover Park their home. The view that spectators have from the hillside on the east is the envy of Recreation programs all over the county.

It is important to mention that some of our Association officers and volunteers also became chairs and volunteers of the Overlea-Fullerton Recreation Council. The list is too large to mention for fear I would forget someone, but I believe that this is the reason the Recreation Council and Linover Association were so successful over the years. It is important that we continue this relationship in the future. It also is not just luck that the annual Fireworks display at Fullerton field is one of the best in the County.

The Stream – Stemmers Run

Except for the children who played in the stream known as Stemmers Run, most folks don’t know or forgot about the fact that the stream is an important part of the most valuable asset Maryland has to offer, the Chesapeake bay.

The stream actually has its origins a little north and west of Linover. The most visible beginnings you can see at Double Rock park, and you’ll find it runs under Belair Rd. (Route 1), continues through Linover park, Gardens of Faith Cemetery, and joins Herring Run to eventually flow into Back River then to the Bay. In the early 1990’s, the Army Corp of Engineers restored the stream banks on the section that flows through Linover Park at a cost of 1.3 Million. A lot of the damage restored was due to erosion over the years due to storms and the continued development of our shrinking open space.

Due to the current housing boom, developers are targeting small land parcels that previously were considered as undesirable for development and submitting plans for “infill” housing and development of the remaining open space adjoining Linover Park and the end of Overton Ave.

This is not good news for Stemmers Run!


While searching through the records, Carroll Pupa found a letter written in 1965 from then President John Todd to the Baltimore County Planning Director requesting that land known as the Wever property become added to Linover Park to provide additional recreation facilities for the Overlea – Fullerton area. That request was never acted upon, and ironically, the Weaver property is now the center of a dispute between the Linover Association and Developers who plan to build on the few remaining acres of open space in the area.

There are many issues for the community concerning this proposal, and a few of the residents have spent countless hours trying to preserve some of this land as open space. As of this writing this case is still unresolved, and desperately needs your support if we are going save some of this space for future generations.