ABOUT SOUTH COUNTY
Southern Anne Arundel County is commonly referred to as "South County" by area locals. South County generally starts at the northern edge in Edgewater and extends southward to about North Beach in Calvert County.
Most of South County is still mainly agricultural with large areas of farmland, rolling hills and picturesque horse farms. Below the South River are small rural and water-oriented communities. Land, which tends to be plentiful, is at a premium here. Homes range from small farmhouses and watermen's cottages to large older country homes and new landed estates.
The debate over how and where development will take place is expected to extend well into this century. Few residents, businesses, or government agencies want to be responsible for killing the "goose that laid the golden egg". The waterfront, the countryside, the human scale of communities, old and new, combine in an environment that most agree cries for protection.
South of Annapolis on the West River is the charming town of Galesville. Settled in 1649 by Quakers, it was then called West River Landing. it was official Port of Entry beginning in 1684. The only military action in Anne Arundel County during the War of 1812 took place on Chalk Point across from Galesville when a party from a British ship went up the West River to the property of Stephen Steward. in 1832, a German emigre, Henry Hartge purchased 647 acres on the West River with many walnut trees to provide wood for his piano manufacturing business. Today the town is filled with antique shops and boutiques. Good seafood restaurants entice many people to travel down from Annapolis.
SHADY SIDE & DEALE
The Shady Side Peninsula is surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay. By the time of the arrival of Europeans in Anne Arundel County in 1649, the area had largely been abandoned by the Algonquin speaking inhabitants due to threatening raids of the warlike Susquehannocks to the north. The area was called “the Great Swamp”, a portion of which was “Sedgefield,” after the native sedge grass growing in its marshy areas.
The area was farming-based until about 1870, when watermen from Long Island and Maryland’s eastern shore purchased land and settled near the abundant oyster beds in Herring Bay. In a short period of ten years, Deale’s economy changed from farming to maritime-based. When the post office opened in 1888, the area was renamed Shady Side. During the steamboat era of the Chesapeake Bay, visitors traveled to the peninsula for summer vacations and summer homes became very popular. While many visitors came to the area, permanent residents at this time were mostly watermen who made their living by fishing, crabbing, and oystering.
Beginning in 1920, several former farms became summer communities and Deale residents began building and repairing boats, and renting rowboats to summer visitors. African Americans, both free and enslaved, made great contributions to the development of the Deale-Shady Side area, including through work in oyster processing. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in sport fishing and recreational motor and sail boating activities, even as numbers of watermen have declined.
The community has nearly doubled, from one thousand homes in 1984 to about 1,800 today. And there are approximately 1,700 remaining infill lots with development potential. The Shady Side Peninsula Association is dedicated to ensuring that any further development that takes place will be in accordance with the Deale/Shady Side Small Area Plan and that citizens' concerns regarding the environment, roads, schools, parks, recreation, and general quality of life are well represented.
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