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The History of Chartwood, Severna Park , Md.
Ray Robertson

The Origin
To understand the history of Chartwood one has to reflect back to what was then known as “West Severna Park”. In 1954 the Merritt Brothers and their partners purchased land in what now consists of Fairwinds on the Severn, Chartwell and Chartwood. Prior to this time there were only scattered homes and farms west of Jumpers Hole Road: The Kinder farm was the most notable piece of farmland property.

In the early 1960’s Harry Meeks purchased land and developed the original Chartwood, which consisted of lots located on Faircastle Ave., Wellerburn Ave., Benfield Blvd., and West Benfield Rd. This property was part of the original Wockenfuss Estate. A separate parcel comprised of lots on Dun Robbin Drive, Hawick Drive, and Hawick Court was purchased by the Kasten Construction Company and named Kearney Manor. The Kearney Manor deed was executed on October 21, 1965.

Harry Meeks wanted to capitalize on the growing Chartwell community and attempted to name the original Chartwood “West Chartwell,” but was threatened by the Meritt Brothers with a lawsuit. Meeks backed off and decided to use the name Chartwood, thereby the origin of our community. During the 1960’s several homebuilders purchased lots from the developers and built homes. Bob Williams, who had been an All-American quarterback at Notre Dame, built the homes on Faircastle and Wellerburn Ave’s, while Dick Mason and a Mr. Rodriguez built homes on Dun Robbin, Hawick Dr. and Hawick Ct.

Initially Chartwood and Kearney Manor were two separate sub-divisions with their respective covenants administered by their own Community Associations. Since the two separate Community Associations were relatively small in size, an agreement was made between the two communities to merge and adopt the name Chartwood. The newly expanded Chartwood Community Association Inc administered the restrictive covenants, which were similar in content. The by-laws of the original Chartwood Association were amended in October 1970 to become the newly defined Chartwood Community.

The Early Years
Now that the Chartwood community had become one, there were significant challenges for the Association. The initial challenge for the residences was to become socially acquainted and to get to know each other. Bear in mind that all of the residents were new to the community and most were seeking new friendships and acquaintances. There were many individual parties, community block parties, Christmas caroling and 4th of July celebrations. These events created the social fabric of the community and many of these activities still exist and are enjoyed by residents today.

Aside from the social environment the community needed to protect and expand the physical environment of the community. Projects were undertaken to place entrance signs (later lighted) at Wellerburn and Faircastle Avenues; to improve the traffic entrance from Benfield Blvd onto Faircastle Avenue; creation of a traffic circle on Faircastle Ave ; the provision of a walk path from Chartwood to Shipley’s Choice; and the establishment of a paved school bus stop on the community property. Material for the bus stop was provided pro-bono by a local contractor who was performing work for Anne Arundel County at the time

The development of Shipley’s Choice played a role in the early Chartwood development. The Shipley’s property was owned by the Meyerhoff Corp. who where major developers in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area with their “Town and Country” communities. Mr. Meyerhoff proposed to the Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning Board a project of town homes, apartment buildings and individual homes. At this time there were only a small number of old apartments in Severna Park and no town homes; therefore this proposal caused considerable concern to the entire community of Severna Park because of it’s high density development. Concurrent with the Meyerhoff proposal was the high density development in Crofton. The Crofton community had been originally modeled after Chartwell but was undergoing a change of character with its high density development. Local politicians, the Meyerhoff Corporation, and County officials responded to the cry of “Not another Crofton”. This outcry resulted in the existence of the current Shipley’s Choice with its single family homes.

The agreement negotiated between Chartwood, Chartwell, West Benfield and the Meyerhoff Corporation created a buffer zone between the aforementioned communities. All parties agreed to this arrangement. When the agreed upon proposal was given to the County, the Board of Education and Fire Department arbitrarily changed the proposal to extend Wellerburn Ave. into Shipley’s Choice, thereby creating a major drive-thru from Shipley’s Choice into Chartwood and onto Benfield Blvd. The only notice given to the Chartwood residents and the Board was the sudden appearance of bulldozers knocking over trees in the buffer zone. This arbitrary action on the part of the County infuriated Chartwood residents. So much so that the president of the Chartwood Association parked her car at the proposed entrance for the road and disallowed the bulldozers from further destruction. After many telephone calls, the county modified their plans for the Wellerburn Ave. extension and proposed a walk/bike path to connect the two communities. This action was the sole reason for the bike path as it exists today forever eliminating the threat of automobile traffic originating from Shipley’s Choice and passing through Chartwood onto Benfield Blvd.

The Chartwood Repeats
The actions of the early residents helped create Chartwood, as we know it, on the 100th anniversary of Severna Park. Chartwood itself is approximately 40 years of age. The community has evolved into a wonderful place to live and raise a family. This relatively quiet secluded community with its fine homes, access to the outstanding Severna Park school system, easy access to the Baltimore Washington Annapolis triangle, and it’s outstanding recreational facilities make our community a fine place to live.

The number of families and individuals who return to our community after having to relocate exemplifies the appeal of Chartwood. Some current residents were raised here as youths and have returned to raise their own families. These families include the Karns’, the Overton’s, the Zingler’s, and the Amaral’s. Adult families who were required to move because of employment relocation and subsequently returned to Chartwood were the Arrowwood’s (subsequently moved), the Aebli’s and the Channas’. These loyal Chartwooders have become known as “The Repeats.”

The number of new residents who have moved here during the past several years reinforces the Chartwood charm. Interviews with these new residents indicate that their reasons for selecting our community, over others in Anne Arundel County, are the same as experienced by the original residents. They wanted nice homes, a friendly social environment, excellent schools, close proximity to social and recreational facilities and easy access within the Baltimore Washington Annapolis triangle.