Towson Armory

The Towson Academy, better known as the Towson Armory, was built in 1933 on the former site of the Smedley House, a popular hotel frequented by Baltimore families around the turn of the century. The building is one of the last military armories built in Maryland during the reorganization and expansion of the National Guard system in the 20th century. The armory’s distinctive T-shaped, symmetrical design features a two-story head house in the front and a one-story drill hall in the rear. The marble-like stone facade reflects medieval fortifications, with towers on either side of the central entrance and on adjoining walls. The building was minimally used by the National Guard by 1980 and was largely used by community groups for meetings and social events. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 25, 1985. In 2021, the building was repurposed as StarTUp at the Armory, featuring entrepreneurship/small business programming and public co-working space.

Prior to the Armory this site was occupoed by the Smedley House hotel, which burned down in a spectacular file in 1916. This picture shows the burned-out shell of the building. Photo courtesy of Baltimore County Public Library collection.

Towson Armory
Towson Armory

Turn right (north) on Washington to the Baltimore County Courthouse entrance. Before you enter the courthouse grounds, look at the old Law Building (now a bank). Just inside the courthouse garden entrance, there are two markers, one about the courthouse and one about Nathan Towson. Don’t miss the courthouse cannon a few steps from the markers. It was given to a hero of the Battle of Manila Bay in the Spanish American War. That hero, Eugene Stagmer, is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery. If you have an extra minute, stroll the award-winning gardens around the courthouse and pause at the monuments dedicated to our soldiers who died in Vietnam and conflicts in the Middle East (on the north side of the courthouse).

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