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Local Woman Pens Book On History Of Arnold

Dylan Roche
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October 2, 2012

By John Singleton

Nestled between neighboring Annapolis and Severna Park, the Arnold community is often overlooked by many commuters hurrying down Ritchie Highway each and every day. What many people don’t know, however, is that Arnold boasts an intriguing history that dates back to the 1800s. In the soon-to-be released book “Arnold Maryland And Neighbors On The Broadneck,” written by Arnold resident Alberta Stornetta, the history of the area’s rolling hills and breathtaking vistas is documented.

“In 2006, an anonymous tip was proffered to the Arnold Preservation Council alleging that I was an expert on Arnold history,” explained Stornetta, who had five children attend Arnold Elementary School throughout the ‘60s. “I was just the keeper of the archives at Asbury United Methodist Church. The only thing I knew about Arnold was that Thomas Arnold was buried in our church cemetery.”

Stornetta may not have known it yet but she was beginning the process of writing the first comprehensive history of Arnold, Maryland. It started as a traveling PowerPoint presentation called “Arnold Maryland: The Little Post Office That Grew.” With stops at senior centers, church halls and civic organizations, the multi-media roadshow gained notoriety with each appearance.

“Every time we did a presentation, audience members would get excited and interrupt recalling the people and places up on the screen,” said Virginia Cullison-Schultz, co-chair of the History Committee Project of the Arnold Preservation Council. “Then people would show up with pictures and other historical documentation and give it to us. We started getting so much information that a book just seemed like the natural result.”

Cullison-Schultz grew up in Thomas Arnold’s home, which was located near The Depot Wine & Spirits store in Arnold Station, and has lived in Arnold for more than 50 years. Her knowledge of Thomas Arnold and other prominent local residents helped Stornetta in compiling critical data for the book. Known as a successful farmer and businessman, Thomas Arnold was the largest property owner in Anne Arundel County in the late 1800s. His ambition and love of the land has echoed through generations of Arnold residents to this day.

“Arnold is defined by the people who have kept alive a legacy of cooperation and neighbor-helping-neighbor,” added Stornetta, who lives with her husband, Wakefield, in Winchester-on-the-Severn. “Since there is no town center, each community has filled the vacuum and developed its own personality from playgrounds to community associations to communities that work together to form broader affiliations like the Broadneck Alliance and the Arnold Preservation Council.”

Some might remember a railroad once traversed Arnold, but today Arnold has twice as many commuters passing through it on a daily basis (46,541) than it does locals (21,001) who reside there. Some older residents may remember that back in 1965 many locals played slots in the back room of the Arnold Pharmacy. Others might recall the period of time when a correctional facility was located on the grounds of Sandy Point State Park.

“I’ve had a ball writing this book,” noted Stornetta. “It grew organically and geometrically and really took on a life of its own through the enthusiasm of local residents and communities that contributed so much material.”

To reserve a copy of this book for purchase, please contact the Arnold Preservation Council at www.arnoldpreservationcouncil.org.


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