The Founding of Arden on the Severn

The original settlement of Arden on the Severn was created during the romantic period of the early 1900's 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 settlemant. 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. In about 1940 Mr. Strauss sold the home to a Mr. Taylor, president of the Friendly Insurance Company of Baltimore. 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 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. The term "celestial"meant Chinese, since just before that time China was called the Celestial Kingdom. During this time in the early 1900's people were becoming disturbed by the influx of Chinese. California was having a racial problem, and even the German Kaiser was aroused by what he termed the "Yellow Peril." The settlement of Arden contained about 600 acres and extended from Whitneys Landing Drive following the Severn to Plum Creek. The original Arden did not include Sections 4 and 5, and Mr. Henry Keidel owned most of Section 2.

For many years only two lots in this anti-liquorous, anticelestial area had houses on them. These homes are located on the Severn 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 place 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.

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