Quick: What do you think of when you think of Owings Mills? Do you picture the farms and mansions of the Green Spring, Caves, and Worthington valleys? Or, does your mind’s eye fill with visions of office parks and condominium complexes? Maybe you conjure a classroom at Stevenson University, which has maintained a satellite campus in town since 2004. Perhaps, if you’re a commuter, your abiding impression is of the Metro station and the whoosh of traffic on I-795. Or maybe you associate the town with football, since the Ravens have their training center and administrative headquarters there. Or you might hear “Owings Mills” and feel a Pavlovian-like urge to grab the nearest tote bag, a result of years spent watching Maryland Public Television, which has its studio in Owings Mills. Or, or, or . . .
The truth is, any of these would be a valid answer. Owings Mills is a big place. If you include every inch contained within its 21117 ZIP code, the town—technically, an unincorporated community and census designated place—covers 29 square miles from the shores of Liberty Reservoir to just west of Falls Road, and north from McDonogh Road to Timber Grove Road. It contains almost 60,000 residents, and those residents are diverse—about 50 percent white, 40 percent black, 8 percent Asian, 7 percent Hispanic or Latino, and 3 percent identifying as multiple races. And that’s not even addressing economic, religious, and educational backgrounds. So, Owings Mills has many selves; it contains multitudes. Choosing a single image for a town like that is difficult.