Facts and History of Sanders Corner
“My main goal in building McFaul’s IronHorse Tavern is to restore the reputation of the Baltimore County cornerstone restaurant that was located on the east side of the Loch Raven Reservoir. As closely as I can determine, Sander’s Corner was built in 1886 as a blacksmith shop. It also housed the Loch Raven post office until 1953. In 1939, the post office and adjoining house were destroyed by a fire. During the two year rebuilding process, the post office occupied a corner near the current building’s fireplace. The newly rebuilt structure transitioned into a general store as the need for a blacksmith diminished.
The various owners that followed sold sandwiches, ice cream and sundry items. The Maryland National Guard quartered in the basement during World War II. Throughout 1941 and 1942 they kept guard over the Loch Raven dam to ensure the safety of the water supply. The Guard spent the remainder of the war in the white house at the foot of the dam, which is now used as a maintenance depot for Loch Raven watershed staff.
The railroad station for the Loch Raven stop of the Ma & Pa Railroad was just up the hill and across Cromwell Bridge Road. The “Iron Horse” ran from downtown Baltimore to York every day, until 1956 when the railroad cancelled service. The train stopped at the station and the mail was carried down the steps to the post office. The remains of the station’s concrete foundation and the steps leading down to Cromwell Bridge Road are still visible today.
Across Loch Raven Drive, which is currently an additional parking lot, stood another general store during the period when the main building was a blacksmith shop. There was also a dance hall in its basement. It was apparently abandoned and fell into ruin, leaving only the ground on which it stood.
The Sanders family took over both corners in 1956. Leigh Sanders began making his own ice cream and immediately a dedicated following arose. Leigh kept his recipes a secret and sadly, he took them with him to his grave in 1986. Shortly after his passing, the family abandoned his ice cream tradition. Throughout the years, the business had been known by various names, including “The Gateway” and “Lake Drive-In.” The only addition was built in the fall of 1991, at which time the ice cream and sandwich shop became a restaurant. The Sanders family owned and operated the restaurant until its sale in March 2008.
McFaul’s IRONHORSE Tavern at Sanders’ Corner
“McFaul’s” provides an Irish undertone and a subtle insight into the atmosphere and cuisine we will provide. “IRONHORSE” was a term used by Native Americans to describe locomotives and will emphasize the Ma & Pa Railroad heritage. “IRONHORSE” is also a reference to Maryland’s sports legends; dedicated men who worked hard and gave all that they had for the success of our local teams. These iron horses include Johnny Unitas, Art Donavan, Bill Pellington, Brook Robinson, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray and Ernie Tyler. The word “Tavern” fits the setting quite well and describes a comfortable place with time-honored recipes, friendly service and a unique selection of spirits.
The decor throughout the entire restaurant is of Irish and Old English influence. Unique themes and motifs are used in each designated area. The first, or front, dining room has a fireplace and serves as a tribute to Baltimore County and the location’s rich past. Vintage pictures and interesting local art provide a bit of history and traditional warmth for our main IRONHORSE dining room. The second, or side, dining room will is named the “Baltimore” room. This area showcases photographs by Aubrey Bodine, Baltimore’s famous pictorialist. It will also serve as our “Media” and “Event” room. The Baltimore room can be rented for corporate meetings and wedding rehearsal dinners. This area naturally flows into the deck area and when combined with our deck bar, will serve as a great place to have a “private” event.
The third, or back, dining area is called the the Loch “Raven” Room. This bar area has an adequate dining space as well as a eighteen person bar that houses four large HD televisions. This room specifically showcases Loch Raven history and the Baltimore Ravens. The Loch “Raven” Bar has autographed Ravens photos and unique memorabilia that makes it the best place to watch Baltimore’s favorite pastime.
The outside deck area, when weather permits, is primarily used for outdoor dining. It can be used as a secondary bar and as an optional “private” bar area for events and rental parties.
All of these rooms tie into each other and juxtaposed accordingly showcase Maryland’s rich history as well as the location’s unique attributes. I feel McFaul’s IRONHORSE Tavern at Sander’s Corner will become a place to relax and enjoy great food and spirits.”
-Walter Glen McFaul III