Green Spring Valley Hounds & Hunt Club

The Green Spring Valley territory consists of about 35 miles square in Baltimore County and all of Carroll County. The home country and north country are open and rolling with great deal of grass. Some sections lying in between are rough and heavily wooded. Post-rail, coops, and board fences predominate. The east side of the country adjoins Elkridge-Harford Hunt; on the west and northwest side of the country adjoins Howard County Iron-Bridge Hunt and the Frederick county line.

History of Green Spring Valley Hounds

GSV125th CarolFenwick 30

2017, Our 125th year.

On December 3, 1892, a meeting of the residents of Green Spring Valley and its vicinity was called

by Mr. Redmond C. Stewart “for the purpose of definitely organizing a foxhunting club.” While

hunting foxes was not new to local residents, it was with farmers’ packs, or night hunting. Redmond

Stewart’s plan was a natural outcropping of his passion for hunting: as a teenager, he hunted his own

private pack of five couple of hounds. But now his vision was for an organized club, with a board and

officers, initially comprised of friends and family, and a dedication to breeding a top-notch pack of

hounds. To that end, Stewart crossed American hounds—in his mind “the best for hunting the fox in

Maryland”--with English hounds to add bone and biddability.

The first fixture card was sent out for December 1892 and invited 127 men from both the surrounding

neighborhood and sportsmen in Baltimore. Annual dues were $5.

In 1893, the first joint meet with the Elkridge Fox Hunting Club was held, and started a connection

that survives to this day in the form of joint meets with the Elkridge Harford Foxhounds, as well as

race meets such as the Maryland Hunt Cup and the Grand National.

In 1893, the club moved from Cliffholme, Redmond Stewart’s home off Park Heights Avenue, to

rented quarters at the Ten Mile House on Reisterstown Road. The move to new kennels and a clubhouse

necessitated the increasing of dues to $10.

In 1897, having again outgrown their accommodations, the Club purchased ten acres lying between

the Green Spring Valley Road and the Green Spring branch of the Baltimore and Susquehanna

Railroad. A shingle clubhouse with a spacious front porch, kennels and stable were constructed,

and while the Clubhouse was rebuilt following a fire, this is still the site of the Green Spring Hunt

(Lower) Club.

The Club expanded again, both in acreage and in activities, adding card games and clay tennis courts,

and in 1914 a 10 hole golf course.

At the same time, the country around the club was becoming more developed, and more and more

meets were being carded to the North. (The northernmost meet was St. John’s Church—along hack

from Green Spring Valley Road.) In 1925, it was decided to move the hunting component of the Club

to a 168-acre farm named “Stamford” on Mantua Mill Road, the present home of the Green Spring

Valley Hounds.

Also shifting from the “lower” to the “upper” clubs were the annual horse show and the annual landowners’

luncheon—major events on Baltimore’s social calendar.

The depression of the 1930s and the war years of the ‘40s brought about significant changes. During

the Depression, the number of hunting members and the number of hounds were both decreased.

Hunt positions were eliminated. In the 1940s many prominent members joined the fighting. Grace

Miller was appointed MFH—the first woman to hold the position—due largely to the fact that most

of the men were overseas. Also in the 40s Les Grimes was hired, at 19 the youngest professional

huntsman ever hired to hunt a professional pack—and who hunted the GSVH hounds for 35 years.

In the late 50s it was decided to formally separate the governance of the “upper” and “lower” clubs. A

new corporation was formed: the Green Spring Valley Hounds, Inc. However it wasn’t until 1974 that

members could elect to join the Upper Club without going through the Lower Club’s nomination and

enrollment process.

In 1981, huntsman Les Grimes passed the baton to his whipper-in, Andrew Barclay, who, like Les,

had come to GSVH as a young man of 20. Andrew continued to hunt the hounds until 2001, and like

Les Grimes, has been elected to the Huntsman’s Hall of Fame.

In 2012 new kennels were dedicated and replaced the venerable structure for the hounds.

After 125 years, much has changed. Foxhunting runs of 23 miles, lasting until dark, are no more.

Roads and housing developments have changed the look of some of the country. But much has

stayed the same. Well-bred hounds, and well-mounted members enjoy many of the same thrills as

their predecessors did. Many activities survive in virtually the same format as they did one hundred

or fifty years ago: puppy shows, hunter paces, hunter trials, landowners’ suppers, and pony camp.

Here’s to the next 125 years.

Click here for Photo's from our 125th Opening Meet by Carol Fenwick

GSV125th CarolFenwick 1