Avondale was built by Legh Master circa 1765. The property was called Legh funace during Master’s time. It was sold to Isaac Van Bibber in 1802 and remained his until 1880. Van Bibber changed the name from Legh Furnace to Avondale. 

Avondale was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by G. Donald Riley in 1975. Riley had no way of knowing that his oldest daugther Helen would meet Michael Hecht in 1977. Michael and Helen married in 1980 and came to Westminster in 1981 to buy a home. As fait would have it, that home turned out to be Avondale. 

In 2009 G. Donald Riley wrote “The Ghost of Legh Furnace” Legh Master 1717-1796 The man Behind the Ledgend. This book describes the life of Legh Master and the history of Avondale. It is available through The Historical Society of Carroll County 210 East Main Street, Westminster MD 21157.  410-848-6494


The National Register of Historic places describes Avondale:

Avondale is unique in Carroll County, being the only recorded example of an 18th century house with a formal facade that its based on elements of Georgian architecture. Although it displays Federal influences and could perhaps be considered a transitional building, the arrangement of the facade establishes it as an important landmark significant to the sturdy of regional architectural development. The building of Avondale is attributed to Legh Masters (d. 1796) who came to what is now Carroll County from New Hall, Lancashire, England, in the early 18th century. He owned several thousands acres, including the Avondale tract. Masters began the operation of an iron foundry near Avondale circa 1765, making this one of the oldest furnaces in Maryland. The furnace only operated for one or two blasts as the ore proved “unproductive and indifferent.” Masters’ interest in the area as a residence contradicts his mineral venture for no one would describe his monumental brick house as “indifferent.” (Two other attempts at iron production were initiated at the end of the 18th century and before the Civil War. Neither was successful.)