(photo courtesy of Larry Montgomery)
You've all driven past it - the quaint little brick railroad station located south of Riggs Ave. just off of Old Annapolis Boulevard in Severna Park. It didn't always look like that, and it wasn't always in that exact spot.
The first railroad station was a small 6x8 foot shed, open in the front, with fixed benches on each of three sides, and under a roof. According to one plat it was located just north of where Riggs Ave. crossed the tracks. It was called the Boone Station after the name of early landowners Elizabeth and Tom Boone, who sold a strip of their land to the Baltimore and Annapolis Short Line Railroad in 1896.
The trains did not make regular stops, but there was a paddle attached to a pole which was held up in a horizontal position if you wanted the train to stop. And such trains they were - bumpety bump, and puffing steam. Until late fall, 1908, that is, when electric passenger trains were put on.
Clusters of houses tended to grow up around railroad stations in those days, and real estate agents became active in promoting the sale of lots. That is how Severna Park's growth was encouraged. As more and more folks moved down to dwell along the Severn and commute to Baltimore by train, there was increasing agitation for a more comfortable station. It was also true that the Boone post office, located in Grotzky's store (now the Codd Building) needed a new location. Hopefully, the two needs could be met in one new station.
It was just after World War I that the General Manager of the Annapolis Short Line wrote Mr. Holland M. Teel, then president of the local Improvement Association, that the railroad company just wasn't financially able to construct a new station. More negotiation followed, and finally it was agreed that the railroad would pay $500 of the cost of the station and the balance, some $300, would be
paid by the Severna Park Improvement Association. It was agreed that when the building was completed and paid for, the railroad would deed over the ground it was providing for the station to the Improvement Association.
The station was completed in July, 1919, at which time the post office was moved into it. The building was heated in the winter months, and was the finest and most comfortable station along the route between Baltimore and Annapolis. Interestingly enough, it was the only station along the entire route that was built with the help of private funds and not owned outright by the railroad.
On July 11, 1921, the name of the station was changed to Severna Park. At long last the name of the town was official. In 1925 the station, only one half as large as it is now, was expanded to its present size. It continued to serve both as station and post office for another 25 years. Then, on February 5, 1950, the last passenger train made its last run on the railway. The building was no longer a station, but it continued to be useful.
The Severna Park post office remained there until 1951 when it was moved to what is now part of Dawson's store. The station was then used for several years as classrooms for the overflowing elementary school in Severna Park. Late in 1956 it became the Severna Park Library.
Today it houses The Severna Park Model Railroad Club. The club moved in during 1966 and started to build a railroad empire inside the station. The railroad was completed in 1982. The model railroad has been rated as one of the ten best in the country. Trains run on Thursday nights at 8:00 P.M. when the club meets. Then it comes alive with the merriment of twenty some enthusiastic Severna Park model railroad engineers and the clickety click of model trains running around the tracks.
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