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Getting To Know Severna Park’s “Olde-Est” Community

Judy Tacyn
Judy Tacyn's picture
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September 7, 2017

Olde Severna Park (OSP) dates back to 1906 when Baltimore businessmen wanted to develop the spectacular land along the tranquil Severn River, specifically around Sullivan’s Cove. The Boone railroad station - memorialized in the naming of Boone Trail - provided easy access to Baltimore and Annapolis. The popular and highly sought-after community was registered with the state of Maryland in 1918.

There are currently 400 homeowners in the Olde Severna Park Improvement Association (OSPIA). Fiercely protective of its gorgeous beach and pristine pond area, the association is focused on enhancing the quality of both land and water habitats for native wild and plant life, and reducing erosion and pollution for residents.

The area’s most prized possession is its white-sand beach, known as the Hatton Memorial Beach (named after Severna Park charter member Oscar Hatton), which includes two piers, piling slips, moorings for boaters, kayak storage and a large pavilion that was built by members in 2000. Plans for a new clubhouse are being reviewed with the expectation of approval and completion in the near future.

“Our most endearing feature is our beach on Sullivan’s Cove,” said longtime OSP resident and OSPIA president Newth Morris. “We work hard to strike a balance in maintaining our natural setting while still offering amenities that are attractive to all of our families, especially those with young children.”

Considered by many to be one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Severna Park, OSP is just steps from the B&A Trail, the library and local shops. Many young adults raise their families in Olde Severna Park because of the walking distance to both Severna Park Elementary School and Severna Park High School. There are many second- and third-generation families in the community, further demonstrating how much homeowners love the beauty and conveniences afforded to the close-knit community.

Olde Severna Park dwellings include several homes that are more than 100 years old, many more built in the mid-20th century, and several built within the last 10 years. On the eastern side of Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and along Cypress Creek Park is a sub-neighborhood referred to as the Village of Severna Park, a group of 116 semi-detached houses built in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s.


Community events include an oyster roast, an Oktoberfest party, wine and whiskey tastings, a spring dance, cornhole tournaments, a crab feast, monthly ladies nights, fall and spring campouts and neighborhood cleanups, an Easter egg hunt and party, a Halloween parade and party, a summer kickoff party, weekly spring play dates, weekly yoga classes, a river swim team, regular painting nights, a barn dance, a 5K fun run and turkey fry on Thanksgiving.




Donald Wilkins
Resident Since 1982

Don Wilkins and his family moved to Olde Severna Park from Arlington, Virginia, in 1982. He chose OSP because he liked the mature landscape, the community, the house and especially the beach.

“We have an event almost every month at our beach year-round,” said Wilkins. “We get good turnouts all the time. We also have many slips and moorings for our many boaters.”

Wilkins recommends Olde Severna Park for anyone moving into the area, but noted, “houses sell quickly.”

“Our neighbors are great people, lots of fun and very helpful if you need help,” said Wilkins. “Our neighbors are community minded and very sociable. They like to party!”

Roy Higgs
Resident Since 1983

As a frequent business traveler, Roy Higgs would marvel at the beautiful shoreline along the Severn River as he observed from a plane window while descending into BWI Airport. At the time, Higgs and his family lived in Howard County. Curiosity got the better of him, and he and his wife spent an entire weekend exploring every street in Severna Park while focused on finding the shoreline.

Higgs found the trees and waterfront of Olde Severna Park “very seductive.” His family purchased a home on Riggs Avenue, affectionately known as the “colonel’s house.”

“There is such a great friendly family atmosphere here,” said Higgs, noting that many children return to OSP to raise their children. “Safe sidewalks, great schools, the [Severna Park] Community Center, the bike trail, reasonable traffic, and of course, Annapolis on our doorstep.”

While he calls the OSP and Severna Park amenities “fantastic,” Higgs adds “our beach is key as part of the glue that binds us.”

Higgs appreciates his neighbors, which he calls “nice folks from many different parts of the U.S. and from around the world.” Higgs and his wife immigrated to the United States in January 1979 from South Africa.

Kira Dickson
Resident Since 2015

Kira Dickson and her family did what almost every realtor advises against: buying a house sight unseen. Living in Fort Lauderdale at the time, the Dickson’s had friends who lived in Severna Park.

“I remember hearing, ‘You’ll love the beach!’” recalled Dickson. “I’m living in Fort Lauderdale and I’m wondering what kind of a beach could they be talking about.” The Dicksons took their friends’ recommendation because the house was “in the right spot. We are so glad we trusted them.

“Many of the neighborhoods in Severna Park have a community beach, but I believe ours is unique in that all of the waterfront is owned by the neighborhood,” said Dickson. “No OSP-ers have their own backyard beaches. Everyone gathers together [at one beach] - and frequently.”

Dickson, now the OSP family activities director, appreciates her proximity to a Blue Ribbon School, Severna Park Elementary. “I love that I don’t have to get in my car every day. We walk to school and to the beach. We walk or ride bikes to the pool and to the library,” said Dickson. “The kids can get to their friends’ houses in neighboring communities.”

Whether pushing a child on a swing at the beach, or jogging along the B&A trail, Dickson said she likes the friendly vibe of the neighborhood and the fact that “everybody knows everybody.”

“I’ve moved quite a few times in my life,” said Dickson, “but I don’t expect to leave this neighborhood.”

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