Tag: mensana

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

Eight Acres and a Story in the Greenspring Valley


HOT HOUSE: 1718 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21093

Sprawling 1900 colonial with a strange past, on eight acres in the Greenspring Valley. Recent site of the Mensana Pain Clinic, it has seven fireplaces, six bedrooms, fourteen bathrooms: $1,400,000 (minimum bid)

What: Built in 1900 by Edward Burke, an original member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, this house was once a high-end man cave. Animal heads on the wall, zebra skins on the floor, dark beams, big fireplaces — and commanding views over the valley. A hundred years later, it was operating as a low-end man cave, owned and run by Dr. Nelson Hendler as the Mensana Pain Clinic.  Here, Dr. Hendler — a nationally renowned, Hopkins trained psychiatrist — was alleged to have sexually abused at least six of his female patients, in addition to trading drugs for sex, handing out painkillers without a prescription, keeping unlicensed guns on the premises and failing to keep his office clean and sanitary (really). His medical license was revoked, and he narrowly avoided jail time. (See The Baltimore Sun and WBALTV stories for the amazing details.) Interestingly, Dr. Hendler then started a website, selling pain diagnoses to plaintiffs lawyers…Knowing the back story, the house has an undeniably creepy feeling. Dead trees in the front meadow probably don’t help. All the rooms are on a grand scale and full of interesting touches – but the house is dark and the furniture looks like it’s waiting for ghostly patients to sit down. The kitchen is like the Titanic. Realistically, it needs at least a million dollars worth of work.  Still, it’s coming up for auction in a few weeks, date not yet announced, and for a certain buyer, looking for a real estate  adventure, this might be just (you guessed it) what the doctor ordered…Call Woodward’s Auction House in Hampden (410) 662-1875 to check the auction date. 

Where: Driving west out Greenspring Valley Road from Greenspring Station, number 1718  is  about 100 yards past Stevenson University,  across the road, on the right.  Sign on the driveway reads 1716. The driveway forks, and the house to the left  is 1718. It’s a very good location, less than two miles from 83, the beltway, Tark’s Grille….

Why:  Because you believe in second chances, even for houses.  Because the outcast persona of this house strikes a chord in you. Or, just because $2.5 million all-in (best guess) doesn’t strike you as that much for eight acres and a house with a great story in the fabled Greenspring Valley.

Would Suit: Jack Torrance in The Shining

NB: Basement is beyond scary, but the roof doesn’t leak and the heat works.