Discovering Eaglehead, Part 5

February 19th, 2015 No Comments

“A Trip Back in Time”

by Charissa Roberson

Close your eyes. Imagine.

It is summer, 1973. The Brosius brothers’ many plans are steadily becoming reality. Thirty million dollars have already been invested into the infrastructure and amenities of Lake Linganore at Eaglehead. Sales are booming. “Over a million dollars in home site sales were recorded in April and May at Lake Linganore, bringing the total for the five month period to a record high.” You have been invited to visit.
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When you arrive, you are greeted by an aesthetic wooden sign, bearing the new community’s name. A simple wooden trellis overhangs the main entrance, resting on two walls of stone in muted browns and grays. The entry was designed by renowned architect E. Fay Jones and landscaper Wolfgang Oehme. It is pleasant and unassuming— peaceful, in a way. On either side, dazzling swathes of marigolds carpet the grass, and weeping cherry trees line the drive. Beyond the entrance, on the sloping hills, grow thick forests of dark pines. You cruise beneath the shaded trellis, checking in with the guard at the booth. He waves you on. Winding up the road, you crest the hill. There you see the large renovated barn, slowly rising into view—the Lake Linganore at Eaglehead Visitors Center.

Hopping out of your car, you peer up at the silo towering overhead. The barn’s large glass windows shimmer with reflected sunlight. Adjoining the building is a playground, filled with imaginative wooden play sets, including an upside down tree with climbing notches carved into its branches. A few children scurry gleefully about, waiting while their parents talk business. You smile and continue up to the front entrance. Two genuine plowshares form the handles of the double doors.
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Inside the barn, the brick floor is hard beneath your feet. Sunlight slants in past the hand-hewn beams that form the inner framework. You turn slowly on the spot, taking in Lake Linganore’s unique headquarters, the hub of sales and activities. The receptionist is busy behind her huge granite desk. From the atrium of the first floor, you can see two more levels rising up in tiered balconies. Beautiful photographs of the community, taken by Anita Maree, Bill Brosius’s daughter, decorate the lobby. In one photo, a LLE mounted security guard bends low to speak to a wispy-haired child. In another, sailboats gently float in the waters of the lake. As you take a closer look, footsteps approach behind you.
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A man steps up to you with a ready smile and a firm handshake. “Well,” says Bill Brosius, “are you ready for the tour?”

You nod and follow him up the thick wooden steps spiraling into the old silo. The cylinder-like walls curve around you, and brilliant sunlight pours in through the glass above. Up, up, around and around, until you step out onto the floor you had glimpsed from below. Bill leads you towards an array of maps displayed on the walls. Other tour guides, including Bill’s daughter, Carolyn, guide visitors along the same tour on which you are embarking.

Bill stops before a PUD map, and begins to explain the concept of a “planned unit development”. You’ve heard about this revolutionary idea that Bill and Lou Brosius have implemented and you’re eager to learn more. “One third of the land will be commonly owned, available for use by all residents,” Bill continues. You look quizzical. The plan is novel, but it appeals to you: there will always be places within the community without any houses, where families can freely explore the woods and play in the creeks and run through the fields.

“The lots are plotted in accordance with the lay of the land, and the original topography has been undisturbed as much as possible,” Bill explains. “All utilities, like sewer pipes and telephone wires, have been installed underground. In addition, written covenants protect the land, ensuring that Linganore at Eaglehead, as it is today, will be preserved for future generations.

“Now, for the fun part,” Bill says, leading you to another map. “Lake Linganore is intended to be a water-oriented community. There will be seven lakes in Lake Linganore at Eaglehead. Four have already been filled: Lake Linganore, the largest and central lake; Lake Merle; Lake Marion; and Lake Anita Louise. These lakes are available for swimming, sail-boating, and other water activities. To keep the water clean, and to prevent noise pollution, no power boats are permitted.”

Bill taps the map, drawing your focus to the plotted sections. “Lake Linganore is divided into twelve villages. Each village is designed as a small community in itself, with a village center for events or a country store or a church or anything else that the villagers desire.” Bill turns to you. “My brother and I designed Lake Linganore as a new town, not a vacation spot. Within the development, there will be affordable quality housing for all income levels.”

Bill leads you back down the stairs, and you join the rest of the visitors in one of the two theatres where a narrated slideshow recounts a brief history Lake Linganore’s conception and founding. You watch as a grand story unfolds before you, from the blossoming of a vision to the great dam finally being constructed and Linganore Creek becoming Lake Linganore. When the slideshow ends, you emerge from the theatre, blinking a little in the sunlight.

“Alright, now we’re going to actually get out and see everything that we’ve been talking about,” Bill says with his hands clasped in front of him.

Crossing Eaglehead Drive, Bill turns the car onto a narrow farm lane, and you drive down to where a stable rests at the base of a small hill.
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“An old dairy barn was converted into our stables,” Bill explains as he leads you inside. “It holds eight thoroughbred box stalls. A second barn, now being used for storage, is ready to be made into more stalls when the need arises. Above us is a large hay loft. The hay is grown and harvested on our own property every year. The stables are also equipped with a 40-acre grazing field, as well as a smaller paddock.” As you walk down the aisle, a few horses peer out at you from behind the stall doors, twitching their ears forward curiously.

“Any of the property owners can board their horses here, and all 4,000 acres of LLE are open for trail riding. During the summer we hold day camps for kids, where they learn how to care for the horses and the stables. In the morning the kids have a riding lesson, and in the afternoon they get to take a trail ride along LLE’s trail system. We also offer riding lessons year round to any LLE resident. Students are taught by qualified instructors in either individual or group sessions.”

Bill pokes his head into a passageway leading off from the barn. “This leads to the brick silo,” Bill says, his voice echoing slightly, “It has been renovated with three floors. The lower floor is a dressing room and shower, and the middle floor serves as the tack room. There are plans to turn the top level into a riders’ lounge.”

Outside the barn, a few students canter gracefully around an arena. “This is one of our two riding rings,” Bill explains. “The second ring is by the Visitors’ Barn, with a quality cross-country course alongside. It has about eight jumps, including a stone wall, rail fence, hedge and water, and a three way Irish jump.”
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Back on Eaglehead Drive, Bill takes you deeper into the community. The trip is pleasant, winding through thick woodlands and curving gently around massive stone outcroppings. “This road, Eaglehead Drive, is designed to be a collector road,” Bill says. “Roads will lead off from it, like spokes on a wheel, to provide a connection between villages and from villages to the outer circumferential of county roads.

“You’ll notice that there are no posted speed limits,” Bill adds. “Signs are kept to a minimum, as they would detract from the natural beauty of the drive. Linganore’s roads have been built to implement a concept we call ‘psychological speed limits.’ See how close the trees are to the road?” You lean closer to your window to observe. “The rock outcroppings are also deliberately preserved. When you drive on a narrow, winding road like this one, and see the trees flashing past on either side, you automatically drive slower. Your brain thinks you’re going faster than you really are because of the way the surroundings appear to zoom by. It’s a simple trick, but it works. No one speeds on these roads.” Bill chuckles slightly. “I took a group of county officials on a tour of some typical subdivisions. As we were driving along a wide, open subdivision road, I explained ‘psychological speed limits’ to them. Suddenly a car roared past us, going much faster than the posted speed limit.” Bill’s grin grows wider. “They thought I’d bribed the driver just to prove my point. But they appreciated my theories more after that.”

You are now high in the forested hills. Bill pulls up to an overlook, and through the trees, you gaze down on Lake Linganore. The advertisements called it the largest private lake in Maryland. It was really this you had come to see, the namesake of the new Brosius community. It stretches out below you, a great sheet of water, ruffled by the wind and glimmering with a thousand pieces of shattered sunlight. The water dazzles your eyes. Bill glances towards you, a smile lighting his face. “The lake is 3 ½ miles long. Around Lake Linganore, there will be a 13 ½ mile trail that forms a complete circuit. A good portion has already been completed, including a 2,800 foot esplanade on the edge of the lake. This land bordering the water is part of the open space reserved for all residents. It is unable to be privately owned.”

You hesitantly interrupt. “But would anyone buy the lakefront lots if they can’t own the land all the way down to the water?”

Bill nods. “Yes. It’s a new concept, but it hasn’t stopped people from buying the lots. This way, the owners don’t just have access to the small portion of lakefront on their property, but to the entire lakeside trail. And the residents who don’t live near the water can also enjoy the hike.”

He points across the lake. “On the other side of the lake is Coldstream Village, and the site of the Linganore Clubhouse. The pool and bathhouses have already been constructed, and if you look closely you can see the building.” Bill guides your gaze towards a structure, settled into the crest of the hill. “Notice that it has been built to blend in with the land. All of our buildings and houses will be constructed this way, so that when you look across the lake, even years from now, you will barely notice the homes. We want this view of the trees and the hills, as we see it now, to be undisturbed.” Bill turns and points down the lake, to the left. “You can also see the site for our marina. This will be a place for boaters to gather, store their sailboats, and hold major boating events. Think sailboat races, aquatic competitions, or simply going for a relaxing paddle in your canoe.” He is silent for a moment, allowing you to take in the view and pick out the places he has just described. Then you continue your drive above the lake, towards the dam.

Gradually the road slopes downwards. Around a bend, you can now see the bridge spanning Linganore Creek. Bill points to his left, where thick woods stretch out uninterrupted. “This is our campground, open to all residents—and complete with a bathhouse. There are more than a dozen campsites, all of which have access to the creek below the dam for fishing or wading.” As the car pulls out of the trees, the Brosius Dam comes into view.

You press your face to the window in excitement. This structure has been the talk of many newspapers, magazines, and advertisements. You have seen the awards which have been given to the Brosius brothers’ great achievement. The Brosius Dam was even on TV for a short show as an example of excellent recreational development. And it is everything the pictures promised. Water splashes high from the fountains, and cascades in frothy waves from the top of the dam. A few swimmers play in the lower pool, and a small group of children wait in line to zip down the long water slide imbedded in the rock. The earth berm holding back the lake is ablaze with black-eyed susans, radiant in the summer sunlight.

Bill slowly drives on, allowing you to get a long look at the combined dam and waterpark. You imagine bringing your own family here to swim and splash and play. They would love it. “The dam’s water slides and pools were inspired by the river at Swallow Falls State Park, where I used to take my children,” Bill says fondly. “There were rock overhangs with waterfalls that you could duck under, and natural chutes where the current would carry you safely past the rocks and dump you into the pools below. I hoped to translate those memories here to Linganore, so that more families could experience the fun we had.”

Across the bridge, Bill passes a small body of water. “Lake Marion was designed especially for fishing, and we’ve stocked it with a wide selection of fish. On the hill above the lake is Woodridge Retreats, the only sites intended for second homes. These residences will be pole-house lodges, nestled into the woods and designed specifically for their sloping sites. The grounds—being forest—will require no upkeep, so owners can easily drop in for a relaxing stay in their secluded woodland retreat.”
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From Lake Marion you continue up Eaglehead Drive, arriving at the Coldstream pool. Across the parking lot is a low building. You step onto the sidewalk, which is a light tan color and mixed with a variety of small pebbles.

Bill nods towards the concrete. “If you notice, this is not the normal white concrete. This is exposed aggregated concrete, specially ordered from Texas. The tan color blends in more naturally with the grounds.”

“This is the bathhouse,” Bill explains, stepping into the breezeway of the pool complex. “The 25 yard pool, which includes wading and diving wells, is on the left, as well as changing rooms, rental cabanas, and the swim director’s office. On the right we have two saunas.”

You follow Bill into the breezeway, passing the large U-shaped pool filled with swimmers. Rock walls, built, as Bill explains, of natural stone from the Linganore property, surround the covered patio. Beyond lies a beautifully designed kiddie area with rock pools, cascades, a small slide, and a carefully structured arrangement of climbing stones. “At our house my kids had a little rock pond to play in,” Bill says. “They adored it so much that I decided to put one in here—for the children of Lake Linganore.
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“We also have tennis courts, a shuffleboard, and playgrounds. There will be grassy terraces for sports, a small rink for ice-skating in the winter, and a pavilion for relaxing in the shade after a game and for warming your toes by the fire after ice-skating.” Bill leads you past a rock cliff with a cascading waterfall gurgling through the stones to the open fields in front of the bathhouse. A great dip has been carved out of the land. “We are beginning construction on the main clubhouse here in 1974.

“The Linganore Club was designed by E. Fay Jones, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright and a recipient of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal (1990)—their highest honor. The club will be built of natural stone and heavy timbers, in the style of a rustic lodge, with 18,000 square feet of floor space. There will be two levels to take advantage of the sloping land. Once you pass through the magnificent entryway of solid wood and stone, you will emerge into a large lobby. There, on the main floor, will be a dining room, kitchen, coffee shop, cocktail lounge, small meeting rooms, offices for the Association personnel, and a comfortable adult lounge. The lower floor will hold a separate lounge for teenagers, exercise facilities, and billiard and table tennis rooms. Broad terraces and balconies, with a striking overlook of the lake and forests, will provide a place for outdoor dining and summer dances. We anticipate the clubhouse rivaling some of the country’s finest resort facilities,” Bill says excitedly. “And every homeowner is automatically a member of the Linganore Club, entitled to everything it has to offer.”

Bill looks around one more time. “Shall we continue?”

To be continued…

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