• Mon. Apr 12th, 2021

neighborhood profile: Ijamsville – The Washington Post

What it does have is a rich history, three golf courses, a historic church and a monthly magazine called Ijamsville Living — plus, a thriving real estate market.

“It is booming. It’s growing,” says Caressa Flannery, publisher of Ijamsville Living. “I find that a lot of people are moving from Montgomery County. They’re moving from the hustle-bustle and the heavy traffic that you’ll find more around the D.C. area, and they’re moving this way . . . especially if they’re affluent homeowners, because that’s what we are dealing with here.”

Plummer Ijams, whose ancestors emigrated from Wales to Anne Arundel County around 1650, bought the land that would bear his family’s name in 1785 and began growing wheat and barley. After slate deposits were discovered around 1800, Ijamsville became a mining town.

When the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad wanted to run its tracks through Ijams’s land, his son agreed, provided a depot was built to haul slate and crops. The B&O called the area “Ijams’ Mill and Bantz’s Slate Quarries.” It later was shortened to Ijamsville.

Ijamsville grew in the 19th and 20th centuries, with development peaking in the early 20th century, according to a Maryland Historical Trust document. A few buildings remain from the boom years. Ijamsville Methodist Episcopal Church, a Maryland historical site, was built in 1890 on the site of the original 1854 church. Next door, the Ijamsville school, now a preschool, was built in 1878.

The village declined when the slate quarries ceased operating around 1892. With the popularity of automobiles, the train depot closed in 1938, and Ijamsville went back to being a sleepy, agricultural community. During this time, its biggest claim to fame might have been its amateur baseball team, which was a seven-time Maryland state league champion.

The baseball team was a pet project of Charles E. Moylan Sr., an associate judge of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City. Moylan, who wrote a pamphlet in 1951 titled “Ijamsville: The Story of a Country Village of Frederick County,” was born in Ijamsville and kept a summer home there until his death in 1969.

Pat German, who was a scorekeeper for the baseball team, is Moylan’s cousin. She was born 85 years ago in Ijamsville, and her brother was the postmaster for 30 years. Since the post office moved to New Market, “the village itself is nothing left but old houses,” she said.

Her nephew Larry Meyers, 70, has lived in Ijamsville his entire life. His 100-acre farm, called Rights of Man Farm, is one of the few family farms still around. He raises beef cattle, pigs and organic vegetables.

“It’s just a sleepy little town,” Meyers said. “The actual little village itself hasn’t changed much in my lifetime.”

Even as the town held on to its rural identity, farms gave way to subdivisions as Ijamsville became a residential suburb of Frederick, Baltimore and Washington.

Marilyn Spears and her husband were living in Silver Spring when they spotted an advertisement for a new development in Ijamsville called Fairwinds. They jumped at the chance to be one of the first homeowners about 20 years ago.

“It’s still a little bit of country out here,” Spears said. “It’s still in a way small-town.”

Lately, she’s noticed an influx of newcomers.

“This summer there’s been three or four houses that sold, and they sold immediately, in our development,” she said. “The real estate market right now is hot.”

“I’ve had several properties — before they even hit the market, under ‘coming soon’ status — I’m getting sight-unseen offers,” he said.

One property he listed in late summer at $650,000 had 11 offers and sold for $50,000 above the asking price.

“It’s a beautiful community,” he said. “You have high-end homes. You’ve got Holly Hills Country Club, which is a desirable location.”

Flannery says buyers are attracted to Ijamsville because of its wide variety of home styles and its neighborhood feel.

“They see kids out playing,” she said. “They see neighbors talking to one another.”

Ijamsville attracts homebuyers at all stages of life.

“We have a wide range of families that make up Ijamsville,” Flannery said. “We have young couples that are just starting out. We have couples with families. We have middle-aged folks who are taking in their elderly parents, and then we have older couples whose kids have all left. We’ve got a wide variety.”

Living there: Because Ijamsville is an unincorporated area, its borders are loosely defined by its Zip code boundaries. The northern border stretches just above Interstate 70, the southern border falls close to the Montgomery County boundary, the western border hugs Urbana and the eastern border abuts Monrovia and Green Valley.

The median price of homes sold increased to $550,000 last year from $440,000 in 2019. The average days on market fell to 28 last year from 52 in 2019. One of the most expensive properties sold was a 25-acre farm with a three-bedroom, four-bathroom house, two horse barns and a riding arena for $1.5 million. One of the least expensive homes sold was a 1967 three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch-style house for $314,000. Homes on the market include a five-bedroom, six-bathroom house for $1.4 million and a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house for $589,875.

Schools: Oakdale and Urbana elementary; Oakdale, Windsor Knolls and Urbana middle; Oakdale and Urbana high.

Transit: Ijamsville has no public transportation. The closest MARC train stations are about seven miles away in Frederick and about 12 miles away in Barnesville. Interstate 70 connects Ijamsville to Frederick and Baltimore. Interstate 270 connects it to Frederick and the Washington area.