Glen Esk was built in 1905 by John J. Nelligan. Nelligan owned the original 22-acre lot that was purchased by the Maryland State Normal School in 1913 to construct the Towson campus.
At the time of its construction, the three-story residence represented modern living. It included central heating, plumbing, running water, and electricity. The home had five rooms on the first floor, six bedrooms and two baths on the second floor, and five rooms on the third floor. The third floor was originally built as a private chapel for the Nelligan family.
Sarah Richmond was the first Maryland State Normal School principal to live in the home. She was followed by Dr. Lida Lee Tall, Dr. Theresa Wiedefeld, and Dr. Earle Hawkins.
Glen Esk was the focal point of many social events, teas, and parties for school students and faculty. As late as 1967, freshman were still required to attend a president’s tea held on the grounds. Commencements were held outdoors nearby, between Glen Esk and Ward and West halls.
The house was demolished in 2021 to make space for the College of Health Professions building.
The name "Glen Esk" was coined by Dr. Hawkins. A local wine and spirit distributor wrote to Dr. Hawkins about Glenesk Scotch Whisky after reading an article in the Baltimore Sun newspaper in September 1966. This may have influenced Hawkins' decision to name the residence.
The original of the name of the building is unknown.
written by Nancy Gonce, University Archivist, Spring 2006
edited by Allison Fischbach, Research and Archives Associate, Spring 2021