Tracking change: the significance, identification, and preservation of railroad town development in Anne Arundel County, Maryland

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In the mid-nineteenth century, western Anne Arundel County in Maryland began a transformation spurred by the establishment of railroads. The railroads not only connected Baltimore, Washington, and Annapolis, but also the county’s farmers by rail to these significant metropolitan markets. As technology progressed, the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Electric Railroad brought electricity to the rural towns sited along the tracks. The presence of the railroads also encouraged additional development in the area, and in the early twentieth century, western Anne Arundel County was again transformed by the establishment of Fort George G. Meade and the U.S. Naval Academy Dairy Farm. As the importance of the railroads faded with the advent of the automobile, these towns continued to grow as bedroom communities for Baltimore, Washington, and Annapolis. New development, sparked by the imminent expansion of Fort Meade, threatens the character and viewsheds of the rural pockets remaining in this section of the county. Shedding light on the now-forgotten railroads and their lasting impact on the geography and history of the county, this resource study highlights the significance of the railroads to two towns — Gambrills and Millersville — and examines measures to ensure the protection and preservation of Anne Arundel’s railroad heritage.


This document has had referenced material removed in respect for the owner's copyright. A complete version of this document, which includes said referenced material, resides in the University of Maryland, College Park's library collection. Final project submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, University of Maryland, College Park, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Historic Preservation, 2009./HISP 700 Spring 2009./Includes bibliographical references (p. 54-55).