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Inn Keeping

Peddy family marks 80 years of owning county landmark.

Listen to your mother. That was the lesson passed down by the late Thomas Elmer “Ted” Peddy, who left Georgia during the Depression to make his fortune up North. His mother encouraged the venture, but had one stipulation. “She said, ‘You can’t go to New York,’” says Ted’s son Tom.

Heeding his mother’s wishes, Ted settled in Baltimore and worked as a bartender at a roadhouse along Falls Road. When that building—a white timber-framed structure—was foreclosed, Ted and his brother LeRoy bought it for $3,000, a hefty sum at the time.

On May 1, 1936, the newly christened Green Spring Inn opened under Peddy family ownership. The original timber-framed structure burned down in 1942 and, eventually, was rebuilt in an Art Deco style. The new inn reopened in 1947 with a focus on ballroom dancing and became a special-occasion destination for generations of Baltimoreans.

Tom, who was working in the restaurant by the time he was 11, officially became a partner after his father died in 1965, and remembers the blessing/curse of the inn’s success. “We’d work six days a week, and many days it was from 9 in the morning until midnight,” he recalls.

Despite branching into real estate in the ’70s, Tom maintained an interest in the inn. By the mid-’80s though, the inn’s days were numbered as its customers aged. “There were a lot of . . . gray-haired souls,” Tom notes. Finally, in 1989, Tom and his partners shuttered the inn and turned their attention to leasing the 12,700-square-foot space. One of the first tenants was Joey Chiu’s Chinese Restaurant, which chose to add “at Green Spring Inn” to its name, thus continuing the building’s legacy.

Also continuing the legacy is Tom’s son Ted, who manages the property and contributes to the family’s development interests, which include the adjacent Green Spring Station. Although Ted didn’t intend to follow in his father’s footsteps, he’s happy he did.

“To have the history and to know about my grandfather, who I never got to know, has been wonderful,” he says. “It’s good to know where you came from.”