Cardiff is a quiet little town in Harford County, MD, tucked in between Whiteford, MD and Delta, PA. It’s a town that has remained unchanged for decades, seemingly stuck in the past. While other towns in Harford County such as Bel Air and Aberdeen have had tremendous growth in population, development, and traffic, Cardiff is a town with a population under 600, not a single traffic light or fast food burger joint in the town. It has a laid back sleepy town atmosphere that most of the residents in Cardiff prefer. It’s not uncommon to see an Amish buggy traveling through the center of town on Main Street on its way to Delta. There are many Amish families living in the surrounding areas of Delta, Airville, and Holtwood on nearby farms. They enjoy selling their home grown produce at the farmers market in Delta during the summer months.
Cardiff is part of the Whiteford-Cardiff Historic District, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Cardiff, named after the capital city of Wales, has a strong Welsh ethnic heritage, which is reflected in the local architecture. There are still several stone Welsh cottages in Cardiff, along Green Marble Rd. They were built between 1850 and 1900 by the Welsh immigrants who settled here to work in the slate quarry. Cardiff was formerly the mining center of Harford County, due to the abundance of both slate and green marble.
Cardiff, MD is famous for it’s Green Marble, which was first discovered in 1874. In 1880, the Green Serpentine Marble Company was founded, but it closed two years later because the marble was too hard to cut. In 1913, workers blasting to build a road between Delta, Pa., and Cardiff found a hard green stone that was later identified as marble. Geologically, marble is a calcium carbonate, a sedimentary stone. However, the Cardiff green stone is a “serpentine”, which is a complex magnesium silicate — an igneous rock. Locals from Cardiff have named the marble “the green stone.” This green stone was not pretty until after it’s polished, it transformed into a dark green with swirls of light and dark colors throughout. This shade of green marble is only found in Cardiff, MD. In 1929, the Maryland Green Marble Company began extracting the stone from a depth of 150 feet and later to 350 feet with tunnels extending roughly 1000 feet under the town.
Cardiff’s green marble earned a place in American architectural history as large amounts of it was used in many national landmarks including the White House, New York’s Empire State Building, and the National Archives in Washington. It was used to decorate the Department of Highways Building in Harrisburg, along with walls in City Hall in York, PA, the stairs at Longwood Gardens, and in banks, post offices and drugstores up and down the East Coast.
Harford County still has many public buildings that have green marble, including the old courthouse and the old post office in Bel Air, which now houses the Harford County Historical Society.
The Maryland Green Marble Company is no longer in operation, but the quarry structures and quarry still remain. The stone has not been quarried since 1982, but there will always be a special place in the hearts – and homes – for what locals will always call “the green stone.”
Most businesses are on Main Street, which runs from Whiteford to the Pennsylvania border, or Dooley Road, running from Main Street to Route 165. The town has a hair salon, a cafe, tea house, auto repair shops, a feed mill, churches, a supermarket, and a very nice used furniture store called Dorn’s Used Furniture.
The Tea Trolley
Step back into history and enjoy an afternoon tea surrounded by Victorian elegance. The Tea Trolley is across from the old feed mill on Main Street just down the street from Dorn’s Used Furniture Store.
There are many large fine Victorian homes in Cardiff, MD. The proud home owners care about preserving the history of their homes which shows in the manner in which they are maintained. Most of them are beautifully furnished with antique and vintage furniture from the mid-1800’s through mid-century 1950’s. Victorian style sofas, chairs, tables and china cabinets in mahogany, cherry, oak and walnut grace many of these homes. Chippendale, Duncan Phyfe, Hepple-White, and Queen Anne are some of the popular furniture styles found here. There are some fine examples of hand-crafted Empire chests from the mid-1800’s. Fine lace tablecloths, mirrors, oil paintings and vintage lamps with hand-sewn shades add the finishing touches to these nice homes. Marble top tables are also very popular. Many of the residents in Cardiff and surrounding areas of Whiteford, Delta, Pylesville, Street, and Airville shop here at Dorn’s Used Furniture store for their furniture and home accessories. Here are some pictures of furniture local customers have purchased at Dorn’s Used Furniture to furnish their homes.
As far as things to do in Cardiff, there isn’t much right in town. However, there are many nice parks just a stone’s throw away. Rock State Park, in Forest Hill is right off of Rt.165 on Rt 24. Muddy Run Park and Campground is off of Rt.372 from Rt.74. There are lots of hiking trails, fishing, boating on the lake, and camping. There are several other campgrounds and parks right around that area along the Susquehannock River. Eden Park is a nature center in Pylesville just south of Cardiff on Route 165. These parks are only 10-15 minutes from Cardiff, MD.