The shopping center by today’s Lutherville Light Rail station has not had the best of luck.
Around 2000, however, it was virtually deserted.
The shopping center, formally known as Timonium Mall, saw its heyday in the '80s and '90s. It was anchored by Caldor’s, a department store, and a small collection of interior stores. The Kirk-Stieff Company, a Baltimore-based silver company, had a small gift shop there. So did a shoe store, a dry cleaners, a music store and a tiny ice cream parlor.
Before Caldor’s, Stewart's department store held the busy mall together until 1983.
And before Stewart’s, there was a pond.
“Before it was Stewart's, it was a lovely empty field that had a small pond where we sometimes ice skated,” remembered Susan Gelston Mink, a longtime Lutherville resident who has called two of Lutherville’s most famous historical houses home.
Mink grew up at Oak Grove, the first house built in Lutherville by its founder, Dr. John Morris. She later bought her grandparents’ house on Francke Avenue, the Greek revival house known to some as the Beck House.
“Not a whole lot to tell about the pond though,” she added. “Probably more like a large frozen mud puddle.”
When Stewart’s came to Lutherville, after opening its first suburban store in Towson in 1953, Lutherville shoppers were glad to have the nearby department store without trekking all the way down York Road to the intersection of Walker Avenue.
The Towson location was glamorous, and Lutherville’s location never quite lived up to it. In Towson, the Stewart’s had a posh glass foyer, which hosted the Towson Catholic Glee Club’s performance of Christmas carols every December.
“That was the beautiful Stewart’s,” said Joanne Davidson Smith, a Towson Catholic graduate who grew up on Lutherville’s Croftley Road. “You came into this gorgeous glass foyer, and you go either up the steps or down the steps. Every year we would perform our Christmas music, and we’d stand on risers and sing.”
One of Smith’s sisters worked at the Lutherville Stewart’s. She remembers it being the “in place” to work as a fashion-forward high school girl.
Smith recently collected some memories, from her modern-day friends, about Stewart’s. She reported that one lady wished Stewart’s had sold toys, but they never did. Another lady remembered the large baby department and how nice it was to shop for her grandchildren.
Yet another lady wished Stewart’s had had a tea room, like Hutzler’s did.
Mink recalled the Peck & Peck clothing store in Towson, next door to the Towson Stewart’s, as being the preferred placed to shop. Mink said it was “much more interesting and another great women’s shop.”
When Stewart’s was bought out by Caldor’s in the early 1980s, Smith took advantage of the clearance deals. She still remembers what she bought on that last day—a little A-line skirt.
Caldor’s folded in the late 1990s, and Timonium Mall became nearly a ghost town. Loehmann’s hung in there, and so did Circuit City, briefly. A Metro Food Market came and went in the blink of an eye, and once the nearby Yorkridge Cinema closed, most shoppers gave up.
Happily, in 2005, things began looking up. Today’s Borders, Old Navy and the neighboring Kohl’s all opened stores in the once-defunct shopping center. Now called Lutherville Station, as a nod to the Light Rail station a stone’s throw from their front doors, the shopping center seems to have found new life.