A historic Ijamsville farm property is now in the hands of one of the most controversial property owners in Frederick.
Myung and Duk Hee Ro bought the 25.6-acre estate of M. Robert Ritchie, a well-known county businessman, in Manor at Holly Hills for $920,000 at a Feb. 19 auction, according to state property records.
The Manor at Holly Hills property, at 9798-A Ormonds Terrace, is the largest and most prominent property in the 21-lot community. It sits at the top of a hill and is visible from Ijamsville Road, and includes a historic two-story log and stone house built in the early 1800s, a modern house, a barn built in the late 1800s, two garages, smaller outbuildings and stables.
The Ros own several other properties in the county, including high-profile vacant buildings in downtown Frederick such as the old Asiana building at 123-125 N. Market St. and another building at 300-304 N. Market St.
Those two properties are on the city of Frederick’s blighted property list, due to previous code violations and health and safety issues at the buildings. The Ros recently did major repair work to the Asiana building after a court case with the city, although the building is still condemned and vacant.
Duk Hee Ro did not respond to requests for comment Monday or Tuesday.
The Holly Hills property is listed on the Maryland Historical Trust inventory of historic places, as its history stretches back to the late 1700s as a farm and the residence of prominent local figures.
Ritchie, who developed Holly Hills Country Club and Golf Course, along with Manor at Holly Hills, bought the property in the 1950s with his wife, Harriette Benchoff Ritchie, said Rocky Mackintosh, president of MacRo, the real estate service selling Manor at Holly Hills. Robert Ritchie died in 2013 at age 100.
There is no historical protection on the house, as it is not on the Frederick County Register of Historic Places or the National Register, said Denis Superczynski, a principal planner for Frederick County.
Yet the Ros will have to carefully maintain the property, and will be restricted to using the property for residential purposes, as it is part of the Manor at Holly Hills homeowner association, and its use is restricted by land covenants, Mackintosh said.
The covenants state that the property can be used only as a residence and not for commercial purposes, must be maintained in good order, condition and repair, and any changes to structures must comply with the association’s design guidelines.
Mackintosh said when he was trying to sell the property about a year ago, Duk Hee Ro contacted him, and he showed her the property.
“She had told me her thoughts were to live there,” he said, “but after showing the house, I didn’t pursue the sale any further.”
The Ros still own their house on Camelot Court, which was built in 1982 and sits on 6.39 acres, according to state property records. That house is less than a mile southwest of the Holly Hills property.
The Ritchie estate was originally part of a 480-acre tract of land owned by Nathan Hammond, a notable merchant and landowner in the county, and then his son, Ormond Hammond, according to a 2009 historic review of the property. Through generations, the Hammond family used the land for growing tobacco and other crops. It was noted in the mid-1850s that the land had an excellent orchard and a blacksmith shop and stable, according to the records.
The land once hosted the Frederick Pony Club, the New Market Hunt Club and various other equestrian activities in the latter half of the 20th century, according to the Manor at Holly Hills website.
Robert Ritchie’s vision for Manor at Holly Hills was for a high-end community, and the community was important to him, Mackintosh said.
“Overall, it’s a beautiful place, and we are really proud of it,” he said.