Arden History

Arden's history started with the Sunrise Beach organization advertising 1/4 acre cottage sites for sale during 1951 and 1952 in local Baltimore newspapers for as low at $495 per lot, specifically highlighting, "Your own summer cottage where you can swim, sail, fish, and spend every summer evening with your family enjoying life as it was meant to be lived - and all within 14 miles of the Baltimore City line." 


Arden On The Severn came to be during the romantic period of the early 1900s in the days when people were delighting in a light opera which depicted the adventures of Robin Hood and his men in Sherwood Forest. The name "Arden" is the name of an ancient forest in England which may have been the inspiration for the naming of the proposed settlement. Arden was surveyed in 1911 by J. Spence Howard, whose family was one of the early families of Anne Arundel County. As a result of the survey all roads were laid out to follow the contour of gullies.

The settlement of Arden contained about 600 acres and extended from Whitneys Landing Drive following the Severn River to Plum Creek. The original Arden did not include Sections 4 and 5, and Mr. Henry Keidel owned most of Section 2. One of the four men who planned the settlement, a man named Strauss, lived in a home located at the end of what is now Evergreen Road. (Records show around 1940, Mr. Strauss sold the home to Mr. Taylor, president of the Friendly Insurance Company of Baltimore.)

The original deeds as set out in 1913 had two restrictive covenants: (1) No one occupying land in Arden On The Severn might purchase, convey, possess, manufacture, distribute or consume spirituous beverages and (2) whoever bought a piece of land covenanted not to sell it to "a celestial". In those days, China was called the Celestial Kingdom, so the covenant attempted to keep Asian people from buying. After an influx of Chinese immigrants and workers in the late 1800s, America had taken restrictive measures as racism spread.

For many years only two lots in this anti-liquorous, anti-celestial area had houses on them. These homes are located on the Severn River at the end of Omar Drive. These houses were built by two doctors from the University of Maryland, who were very close friends and who decided to live as neighbors in Arden. Each was so enthusiastic about his home that he had the builder take a picture every afternoon and send it up to him in Baltimore. When the houses were almost completed, however, the two doctors became so infuriated with each other during a poker game that they refused to live in the same neighborhood. Each man decided to sell his dream house, and neither informed the other of his decision. The two houses were sold almost simultaneously and each man regretted the sale.

Original Sunrise Beach Sales Office


(Some data was gathered independently, and some was taken from the Arden On The Severn Directory, 1995.)

Before the 1920s, the Crownsville area was mostly farmland, but over time four large communities were developed: Epping Forest, Sherwood Forest, Herald Harbor, and Arden on the Severn.

Beach Shores, Inc. bought the surrounding land around the two developed lots that existed, cut roads, surveyed lots, and started an advertising campaign for a new beach community called Sunrise Beach. They envisioned a community of summer cottages, with perhaps a few year-round residents. Many early residents built summer cottages (most of which were later converted for full-time occupancy) but a handful built year-round homes to begin with.

The sale of lots in Sunrise Beach began in 1951 with covenants requiring mandatory fees for beach and park maintenance (land owned by Beach Shores, Inc.), as well as racial restrictions only allowing the sale of these lots to the Caucasian race, and other (now illegal) covenants.

By 1955, approximately 30 families were living in the five sections of Sunrise Beach. All of the streets were gravel topped, and to go from one house to another, and you needed a flashlight to see the way as no street lights existed and utilities were being brought into the area as it was being developed.

Earliest Dated Sales Advertisement


Order 18" x 24" Semi-Gloss Poster Replica of Original Sales Advertisements [HERE]

In Summary

When Sunrise Beach began to quickly grow after the initial sale of lots beginning in 1951 and more and more residents were making the community their permanent residence rather than just a summer cottage to enjoy, these permanent residents came together and decided to unit realizing they had a community to build. The Sunrise Beach, Arden Civic Association was formed in 1955 after an idea to create a resident directory was presented by Mrs. Charles M Brown and residents came together. Out of these directory meetings grew early plans for a civic group under the guidance of Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Anthony Maiatico.

After a preliminary meeting, it was decided to invite all lot owners to a meeting to be held on the Maiatico lawn on May 21, 1955. At this meeting, by unanimous vote, the association was formed, and a "Nominating and Constitution-Bylaws" committee was appointed. That year, meetings from July through September were held on Beach 1. Officers for the year were elected at the next meeting. Sections elected delegates to the Executive Committee and standing committees were formed to facilitate much needed infrastructure and build a strong sense of community. With that goal in mind, much has been done since to build Arden into the special community it has become today.

Knowing that the area was formerly known as "Arden," the members of the first civic association worked to change the name of the community from Sunrise Beach to Arden On The Severn. Interestingly, this effort was undertaken because several lot owners wanted to build homes and were unable to secure mortgages due to the lenders' claim that the name "Sunrise Beach" carried the connotation of a beach community; they assumed the proposed homes would not retain their value if surrounded by beach cottages. The name "Arden On The Severn" was voted upon and approved by the majority of lot owners. The community's new name was accepted by the Post Office, but no legal action was ever taken through the Anne Arundel County Government because of the cost involved; hence all property deeds still read "Sunrise Beach."  Amazingly, over the course of more than fifty years, maps, government projects, development documents, etc., all refer to "Arden On The Severn" because of the common name.

The Association was able to work closely with the profit-driven organization of Beach Shores, Inc. (the organization collecting deed-mandated fees for the maintenance and operation of Arden's private beach and park properties) and owner of Arden's street inventory to successfully turn over Arden streets to the County for maintenance and improvement, light up Arden's streets with street lights, bring bus service into Arden for our growing child population, create a recreation program for organized sports and work with the County to develop a ball field and playground, and much more.

Delving Into The Past

There is much to learn from our repository of Newsbuoy archives. How fortunate we are to be able to refer to these documents for the history of our community and its organizations. If you have some down-time and like to read, refer to these priceless documents in our Newsbuoy Archives.

More Recently

In the year 2007, the Arden Civic Association, now called the Arden Community Association, became incorporated, and in 2020 recognized as Non-Profit. The ACA serves as the governing body that organizes the community into activity groups through establishing committees and supporting clubs, meets to determine the focus of community interests, acts as liaison with government entities and other organized groups on matters of development and infrastructure, and manages the publication of the NewsBuoy (the official community newsletter of the ACA and ABI inclusive). ACA collects voluntary membership contributions and donations from community members, and maintains independent financial and operating records reported to the membership through monthly meetings. Membership donations support the maintenance and operation of our community building "Town Hall" and grounds, as well as community signage and care of permitted properties, planning of community events, and hired police patrol through the neighborhood watch program.

All residents in Arden, both full and part-time, lot owners, renters, and property owners within the footprint of Arden on the Severn, age 18 and over are eligible for ACA membership. The volunteer members of the ACA Executive Board are elected to their positions: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Each of the five sections within Arden are represented on the ACA board by a Section Delegate. It is the responsibility of the board to oversee the organization. All Sunrise Beach lot owner members in good standing with ACA are eligible to run for a position.

"There's No Place Like Home"

Arden on the Severn Plan 1911

1911 (the beginning of the now Section 1)


Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

Section 5



The ACA created a Beach Buying Committee in the early 1970s to negotiate the purchase of and acquire the beaches and beach park area from Beach Shores, Inc. Check out the details here: The Birth of Arden Beaches


Arden was the location of a ferry between Arden on the Severn and Severna Park. Learn more here:  Arden Ferry


Arden was the site of extensive mining for the what was said to be the finest glass sand in the country. Look here: Arden's Mining History 


The ACA was the platform used to create the Arden Recreation Association. Look here: Arden Recreation Association