Odenton's Historic Snack Bar

January 17, 1994

Odenton, as any MARC passenger knows, is one of the busiest commuter stops between Baltimore and Washington. Military uniforms are a telltale sign of the station's proximity to Fort George G. Meade. Parking is at a premium. And the amount of construction going on in Odenton-area subdivisions guarantees that commuting in future years is going to be much heavier still.

Which is why we are delighted at the Odenton Heritage Society'sinitiative to turn the old Citizens State Bank, in the 1400 block of Odenton Road, into a snack shop for commuters. While they stop in for a cup of coffee, doughnuts or a newspaper, commuters can also examine a collection of local memorabilia which, not surprisingly, will center around the railroad.

For decades until 1935, Odenton was a transfer point for passengers traveling between Baltimore, Washington and Annapolis. A commuter railroad car shop was there, serving as a major employer in the community. The Odenton station, for its part, not only had a waiting room and ticket office but also a soda fountain.

A 20-by-25-foot concrete building nearby operated as a bank much of that time. Before it became vacant, it also served as a concession stand, grocery store and storage shed. Within the next few months that building will get a new lease on life as a snack bar for commuters.

The Odenton MARC stop sure can use such a facility. Of the 19,500 commuters who use MARC on a daily basis, 1,060 hail from Odenton. That number is going up every year. The new snack bar will be heaven-sent for those travelers.

To get this far hasn't been easy for the Odenton Heritage Society.

It had banked on getting a $55,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation to acquire and renovate the derelict bank building. But too many strings were attached to such a grant. As a result, the society received a smaller contribution from the state and financed the rest from other sources.

The old Citizen's State Bank building, which was erected in 1917 and is believed to have been Odenton's first bank, will be on Gov. William Donald Schaefer's itinerary a week from today, when he tours to see how grant money is preserving historical sites.

` It deserves to be.

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