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Looking Backward: Van Bokkelen's Butsch Gardens

An 1890s view of a familiar landmark.

The familiar-looking building on what is now the 500 block of Frederick Road was built in 1866-67 by Rev. Libertus Van Bokkelen and his wife, and was called Butsch Gardens.

According to the Maryland Historical Society, Van Bokkelen was rector of St. Timothy's Church in Catonsville and formed a church military school, St. Timothy's Hall, in 1845.

In 1859, Van Bokkelen was appointed the school commissioner for Baltimore County, and is credited with improving the county's public education system. In 1864, he was named the first superintendent of public instruction for the State of Maryland. Van Bokkelen was appointed president of the National Teachers Association in 1869.

After retiring from the public school system, Van Bokkelen traveled and preached throughout Europe, the American West, and Alaska. He died in 1889, according to the historical society.

Van Bokkelen is memorialized by the eponymous Van Bokkelen Hall at Towson University, a two-story Georgian Revival structure built in 1933.

Back in Catonsville, Butsch Gardens was owned by Frederick Weber by 1876, who renamed it Catonsville Gardens.

"His daughter, Dorothea, called it Weber's Hotel or Weber's Tavern," the historical society noted. "Her daughter, Louisa Weber Butsch, who was married to Harry Butsch, renamed it Butsch's Gardens when she acquired title in 1943."

The building had a "checkered history" during the 1950s, according to the historical society.

In the years since, the location was variously known as Mullineaux Toll House, Straw Hat, Wine Warehouse and McPatrick's Pub. Today it is home to .

The building burned in the mid-1980s, and was rebuilt. Some sources said that was the second time the building burned. Anybody have more details?

Kristen Leister September 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Cool article! I wanted to hear more about the "checkered history" though.
Bruce Goldfarb (Editor) September 13, 2012 at 02:29 PM
So do I, Kristen. I'll report back if I find anything out.
Ron Wise September 13, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Mullineaux Tool House should be Toll House? Oh those flying fingers. lol
Bruce Goldfarb (Editor) September 13, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Actually, the MDHS said Tool House, but Toll House makes more sense. I do believe that was a typo, so I'll change it.

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