With a Civil-War era mansion and a brand new visitor's center, Cylburn Arboretum is bustling with history and energy. Cylburn began as the private estate of Jesse Tyson, president of the Baltimore Chrome Works Company and a successful businessman. Tyson began building the mansion in 1863 as a summer home for himself and his mother. He completed it in 1888 at the age of 61 and after marrying the 19 year old debutante, Edyth Johns. Tyson is said to have remarked at this time, ""I have the fairest wife, the fastest horses, and the finest house in Maryland." With its Italianate design, stone from Tyson's own Bare Hills quarry in Baltimore County, and an interior of hardwood floors, grand fireplaces, and ornate plasterwork, Mr. Tyson was at least correct about the quality of his house.
Not surprisingly, Jesse Tyson died before his "fair" wife. Ms. Johns continued to live in the house until her death in 1942 when Baltimore City purchased the estate for $42,300. In 1954, the property became the "Cylburn Wildflower Preserve and Garden Center," and a group of volunteers designed trails and gardens for the park. The named officially changed to "Cylburn Arboretum" in 1984, and the property now covers over 200 acres of grounds dotted with horticultural and historic sites.