Old lime kiln in Cromwell Valley, Central MD, USA...from the county
The Minebank Run stream valley has been settled since the early 1700s and used primarily for farming. Some iron ore mining took place in the area with the largest of at least four mines located at the stream’s starting point - hence the stream’s name.
In the late 1700s the use of agricultural lime to rejuvenate depleted fields became prevalent. The valley became a production area for building, whitewash, and agricultural lime, due to an easily quarried supply of Cockeysville marble, which readily turned into lime when cooked. Marble was dumped into the top of the kiln and burned using wood as fuel. The burned marble, now lime powder, was then collected and bagged at the base of the furnace. The Jenifer and Shanklin families operated the most recent lime kilns in the valley. The remnants of the last eight of these lime kilns are still visible today in the park.
Once referred to as “Lime Kiln Bottom,” the valley seems to have acquired its present name from William Cromwell, who married Elizabeth Raven and inherited her father’s land in 1773. The Ravens were some of the earliest settlers in the valley, along with the Stansburys, Towsons, and Risteaus. Descendents of the Risteaus, the Jenifers, still own and live in the original family home.