Our History

Turner Station History

The area that grew into Turner Station was once farm land owned by J. M. Turner as early as 1877.  The rural character of the area began to change in the 1880s when the Pittsburgh Steel Co. built a steel plant on land known as Sparrows Point. The steel mill was bought out by the Maryland Steel Co., and at that time Mr. Turner sold a portion of his tract to the Sparrows Point Railroad Company. The railroad company erected a station, naming it for the Turner property through which the rail passed on its way to Sparrows Point.  As the nearby community grew, it took on that name – “Turner Station.”

The Maryland Steel Co. created a subsidiary called the Dundalk Co. for the purpose of overseeing construction of housing for workers near Dundalk. Building had just started when WWI created an astonishing demand for ships constructed of steel. As a result of this increased demand for labor, many African Americans migrated to the area and created their own self- sustaining community with both housing and local businesses. 

Schools, churches, grocery stores, fraternal organizations, restaurants, barber and beauty shops, doctors, dentists, gas stations, liquor stores, an employment office and clothing stores sprung up and prospered around the Turner Station stop with names such as the Balnew Cab Co., Allmond’s Confectionery, Fanny Major’s Community Laundry, the Anthony Theatre and the Adams Cocktail Lounge. The  Adams became the most popular black lounge in Baltimore, and patrons saw entertainment greats there, including Chick Webb, Pearl Bailey and Billy Eckstein. After World War II, the community began to decline. 

Between 1960 and 1970, the population decreased by nearly fifty percent, and services decreased as well.  At the turn of the 21st century, however, dedicated residents partnering with Baltimore County and private companies have been diligently working to revitalize the community, and encouraging signs of redevelopment have occurred.

The Turner Station Conservation Teams –a 501(c)(3) organization (with seven distinct teams) was organized with a mission to change the community from one that has suffered from neglect to a vibrant, caring and attractive area, and members are dedicated to the revitalization of Turner Station that pursues development connected to the community’s long history of education and faith, its unique waterfront location, and its unique place in history.

Louis Diggs, From the Meadows to the Point: The Histories of the African-American community of Turner Station

Turner Station Conservation Teams History

In June 2001, a concerned group of Turner Station residents toured the historically underserved African American neighborhood with 7th District Councilman John Olszewski Sr.  The Turner Station Community Conservation Advisory Committee that was formed in the Fall of 2001 reviewed neighborhood survey results which indicated that 63% of residents viewed their quality of life in the community as either fair or poor. 

On July 2, 2001 the Baltimore County Council passed a resolution sponsored by Councilman Olszewski calling for the creation of the Turner Station Community Conservation Plan. The Planning Board and County Council adopted the Community Conservation Plan as part of the 2010 Master Plan in 2003.  This plan reinforced projects that were already underway and recommended additional actions aimed at improving both the physical and social stability and sustainability of the Turner Station community.  In 2003, the Advisory Committee formed the Turner Station Conservation Teams  (TSCT).  The teams of individuals worked diligently to implement the Plan to revitalize the community. Through the years, TSCT has continued to work with Baltimore County to address the continuing community needs.

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