Heritage Garden History-Then and Now

  • c. 1820-1854 – Dr. John Baltzell: Dr. Baltzell built the home (c. 1820-1824) for his wife Ruth and their growing family.  He practiced medicine from the basement level office accessible via an old side entrance in Maxwell Alley.  The lot extended further back and to the west with a large side yard. Records indicate that Dr. Baltzell owned  eight enslaved persons, one of them a woman named Hester Diggs. It was possible that Hester and her three enslaved children, John Thomas, Ann and Emma, would have tended his garden. 
  • 1854-1871 Col. Alexander Baird Hanson: Col. Hanson purchased the property from Dr. Baltzell’s estate in 1854, and owned it until 1871. He added the east annex to house his son in-law’s law practice, covering over the Maxwell Alley basement access.
  • 1871-1879  John Loats:  Mr. Loats resided here late in his life. He was a wealthy, childless widower who directed in his will that this house be incorporated as the Loats Female Orphan Asylum of Frederick City. The exterior of the long garden wall is stamped J. Loats 1877.
  • 1882-1956  Loats Female Orphan Home:  The name of the orphanage was changed in 1912. The garden area would have been used by over 150 girls for both work and play. Girls roller skated on the long pathway, played games, did chores, and relaxed in the expansive rear and side yard.
  • 1959-present  Historical Society of Frederick County:  The large city lot was divided  and the rear property was designed, planted and formally dedicated as the Heritage Garden by the Garden Club of Frederick in 1961.  Since that time, the garden has been used for outdoor museum activities, education, programming, and numerous public and private events.