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Eclectic mix of homes keys Fountain Head appeal

March 07, 2005|by SCOTT BUTKI

The Fountain Head community has a special place in the heart of Teresa Schoeck: Not only does she have fond memories of growing up there but, after living elsewhere, she is back raising her family in the community she considers so special.

Her five children, who range in age from 9 to 19, echo her sentiments about why it is a great place to live: The safety of the neighborhoods, the anemities of the country club, the proximity to places around town, among other reasons.

"I think it is a great place to raise a family," she said.

Schoeck is not alone in her strong feelings for the community just past the city of Hagerstown limits. Interviews in recent weeks with Realtors and current and former Fountain Head residents found shared attitudes about the community, all positive.

Some said they love the community for its golf course and club house while others like it because they consider it a safe place to live.

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For others Fountain Head is a way to make money as housing prices continue rising in one of Washington County's most expensive communities, Realtor Cynthia Moler, a current resident of Fountain Head, said.

Background of Fountain Head


Fountain Head was not always an exclusive neighborhood surrounding the Fountain Head Country Club.

Much of the land was previously farmland owned by ancestors of Ludwig Schindel, the son of a York County, Pa., German settler.

In the late 1700s and the early 1800s Schindel purchased several farms in Frankin County, Pa. and in Washington County.

The name Fountain Head was used as early as 1878 in a deed transferred from Pere Primrose to Jacob H. Schindel, grandson of Ludwig Schindel. The turning point for the farming community came in 1922 when Californian Emmet Gans purchased land known as the Schindel farm. Gans, an avid golfer, was a founder of Fountain Head Country Club.

Teresa's Tale


Teresa and her husband, Ted, each grew up in homes in the Fountain Head community, she on Preston Road and he on Woodburn Drive.

After each moved away to attend college they later returned to this region and, in 1995, moved into their home on Fountain Terrace, she said.

She remembers playing on the country club's golf course as a child, along with other neighborhood children.

"That was our playground," she said. "We got to play all over the golf course."

If there was flooding, that meant they could go sliding through the puddles, she said.

Snow on the golf course meant they would sled on the golf course, she said.

While "flashlight tag" and other activities on the golf course are surely discouraged today, there are other attributes of the community that have not changed, she said.

"It is a beautiful area," she said. It is also a quiet neighborhood with wonderful neighbors, she said.

Both she and her son, Vincent, 17, said that children and teenagers can play on the street with little chance of problems from traffic.

Vincent said it is the kind of community where friends and strangers alike will wave to you as you walk by.

"It is a very nice family neighborhood," said Vincent, who helps with tennis clinics at the country club during the summer.

The development is less than a five-minute drive from the local schools Teresa's children attend: Paramount Elementary School and North Hagerstown High School.

Her children can swim and play tennis at the country club as well as at other close-by locations. Every day of the summer, at least one of her children will go to the country club, she said.

She has no interest in moving elsewhere and can't think of anything negative to say about the community, she said.

"This is our home for life, she said.

Buying and Selling


Moler said it is not hard to sell property at Fountain Head, no matter what the motive of the buyer.

She had at least 10 people last year buy Fountain Head property with her help with the goal of using it as an investment.

She knows of one house bought for $76,000 and sold eight months later for $225,000, Moler said.

The country club is a big selling point for people and she uses that to her advantage. Often, when she will meet someone interested in buying property at Fountain Head, she will have them meet her at the country club for a meal and a round of golf, she said. By the end of the day the person is usually ready to buy a property, she said.

The safety of the region is another reason people give for buying Fountain Head property, she said.

"People love to know that they can live there and their kids can be in the streets and safety won't be an issue because there is not much traffic," she said.

There is less turnover of property in Fountain Head because property owners tend to hold on to their homes longer, she said.

When a Fountain Head property goes up for sale it is often sold faster than properties elsewhere in the county, she said.

Homes in Fountain Head sell from about $250,000 to $1.5 million, she said.

Realtor and resident Frannie Parks


Frannie Parks, also a local Realtor, said current property listings in Fountain Head range from $285,000 to about $900,000.

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