Tag: green spring valley

More History to GSV Estate Mensana

We received last week the following email regarding Mensana, the fallen Green Spring Valley estate that we and our friend Pigtown Design blogger Meg Fielding have written about. The writer, Serena Black Martin, is the great grand daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Richard Jackson, who owned the estate for over 40 years.  With Serena’s permission, we are sharing the email and a small sample of her lovely photographs of the house in its glory days.  Serena has agreed to write a history of the house for the Baltimore Fishbowl. Look for it in the coming weeks!


I have noticed over the last few months that you have had articles regarding Mensana.  The latest today, titled, “Inside Creepy Mansion Mensana.”

This house has a very special meaning to me because it was the home my great grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Jackson, for over forty years.  It was known as Venture then and the 300 plus acre property spanned either side of Greenspring Valley Road.  There were beautiful barns, tenant houses, ice ponds, and endless riding trails.


In 1932, the Jacksons bought the home directly next to them and gave it to my grandmother, Catherine Jackson and my grandfather, Gary Black, as their wedding present.  It was named Adventure, and they added it to the estate.  I now live in Adventure and so I am very concerned what will become of Venture.  

I have wonderful photographs of parties etc. that show the splendor of the home and its true beauty.  Maybe people can look past the creepiness of it today and see that it could be spectacular once again.
Serena Black Martin

Inside Creepy Mansion "Mensana"


Earlier this week I heard about an estate sale that’s happening over the weekend, and since I don’t work on Fridays, I decided to drive north of Baltimore to find the house.I always find it incredibly sad to see a place that had at one time been glorious, filled with parties and laughter, now so run down and pitiful. This is the case in this house. You can read a little bit about the house, and see some images of its former life here .

The house sits high on a hill overlooking the lush and serene Green Spring Valley, just north of Baltimore. As you drive up a winding drive to get to the house, you get a good idea of how massive and well-built the place is.The overcast and gloomy weather did nothing for either the interior or the exterior, and everything was just flat and grey. In fact, some of my shots looked like I’d used a black and white filter to take them.When I entered the house, there were flashes of the place it used to be. Beautiful wood and plasterwork, elegant fireplaces…It’s solid as a rock, and many of the architectural details remain. In a nutshell, the house was built in 1900 by one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and most recently, it was owned by a rather nefarious doctor who used it as a “pain” clinic, and was later stripped of his medical license.I wasn’t certain whether these walls were papered or painted, but the transition between scenery and paint was badly handled.Even in the overcast, the rooms were bright, and their proportions were good.The details were beautiful.As I went up the sweeping staircase, I was struck by the solidness of the bannisters and railing and the good condition of the hardwood steps.The bedrooms, and there are six of them, all en suite, were used as patient rooms, and there are pieces here and there that remind you that it was a “medical” facility.

But there are also details that remind you of the former good life that the house lived.  The marble fireplace surround,and the sweet sconce, one of only a few that weren’t ripped out.The en suite bathrooms still had their “non-mixer” sinks and tile walls and floors. And having grown up with sinks like these, where the hot and cold water taps don’t mix, let me just tell you that it’s a complete and utter pain!When I walked around the house, I was gutted about how the property had just gone to seed. The beautiful old boxwood were full of dead branches and had become overgrown. Boxwood need air to circulate between their branches or they become diseased. I walked around and pulled handfuls of boxwood branches (with permission) to try and thin them a bit.One of the most melancholy things I saw was an old wicker chair, slowly rotting on the formerly gracious front terrace.To me, the little chair epitomized what the house had become… a slight shadow of its former self.

Oh, what did I get, you ask? Only two books.

1716-18 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD  21153 
In between Greenspring Avenue and Stevenson Road on Greenspring Valley. 
Look for two white brick entrance gates and veer to the LEFT when coming up the driveway. 
You can TEXT 443-865-4813 for more info…