The original settlement of Arden On The Severn was created 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.
After the Civil War, Arden became the center of a somewhat famous, local mining enterprise. The sand being mined was as white and soft as flour and was extracted from the hills of Arden by stripping and tunneling. The sugary, white material being extracted was a special grade of sand, said to be the finest glass sand in the country. To most people now, the thought of a quiet, modern neighborhood being a mining operation for the most sought after glassmaking sand in the country seems a little far-fetched.
Historical maps from 1878 of the Arden area shows a note indicating glass sand between Plum and Valentine Creeks, but the history of the sand mining operations is much richer. At first, the mining operation involved strip mining at Halfway Point, which is now known as Beach Four, located off of Valentine View (Section Four). Later, caves were tunneled into the hillsides off of Whitney’s Landing Drive.
In 1885, the Annapolis Glass Works opened on Horn Point in Annapolis. Sand was dug from shoreline pits (on both sides of the Severn River) by companies that included the Brenan Sand Company at Forked Creek and the Liberty Sand and Gravel Company at Stevens Creek.
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.
For many years, only two homes (located on the Omar Road extension) existed in Arden. At that time, Beach Shores, Incorporated bought the surrounding land, cut roads, surveyed lots, and started an advertising campaign for a new beach community called Sunrise Beach. At the time, 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.
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