Gate House Museum

7283 Cooper Drive
Sykesville, MD 21784

In 1904 the fledgling Second Hospital for the Insane in Maryland (established in 1896, and now known as Springfield Hospital Center) completed construction on the southern gatehouse for the hospital grounds. The stone pillars and iron gates were locked each evening, and reopened the following morning by hospital personal. The house immediately became living quarters for various hospital personnel.

For its time, the Gate House was considered spacious and modern. The building originally consisted of eight rooms - a dining and living room, along with a butler's pantry on the first floor, two spacious bedrooms and a bathroom on the second, and two attic rooms used for guests and storage. The kitchen was located in the basement, and a sunroom adjoined the dining room. In the downstairs hall, a new telephone lent instant access to the outside world. To the left of the house a tennis court provided hours of entertainment.

After that an assortment of hospital personnel lived at the house, but never for long periods. In 1961, the Route 32 bypass cut through the Springfield property, and the south gates on Springfield Avenue lost their importance. The gates were eventually removed, but the pillars still stand. The house eventually fell empty, and the tennis courts were flattened for the Sykesville Shelter Home. The gardens have long since disappeared.
In 1993, the Town of Sykesville took control of the Gate House from Springfield Hospital, first as a renter, but in 1997 Sykesville became the official owner. The Historic District Commission of Sykesville, along with several dedicated volunteers, restored the building to the way it would have looked circa 1904.

On September 7, 1997, the building reopened for business, not as a personal residence, but as a community museum. The museum houses a wide variety of items, all dealing with Sykesville and its neighbors. The core of the museum is a collection known as the Rooms of History, collected and stored at the Sykesville Town House by former Town Councilwoman and current Town Historian Thelma Wimmer from the mid 1960's until the early 1990's. Collections include photographs from the Jones Sisters, local photographers from the 1930's through the 1960's; Baltimore and Ohio Railroad paraphernalia, the Sykesville Herald newspaper files (1913-1983), and local World War II Civil Defense artifacts.

New gardens dot the museum landscape (including the Dorothy Clarke Schafer Rose Garden), and exhibits are constantly popping up inside the building, along with new museum-shop finds. Currently on display are local Native American artifacts, as well as exhibits on James Sykes, photographs by local artist, Debra Taylor Young; and floral photographs by the Jones sisters.
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