Remembering presuburban Severna Park


December 04, 1997|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,Special to the Sun NTC

WHAT DO YOU like best about Central County: good schools, convenient shopping, state of the art medical care?

Retired businessman Walter Winkelmeyer remembers when Greater Severna Park wasn't such an up-to-date suburb. He and his wife, the former Jane Klohr of Randallstown, will celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary next month.

Winkelmeyer, 83, laughs when he thinks about the Severna Park of the 1930s and 1940s. "You've got to remember that Severna Park at that time was country," says Winkelmeyer. "North Severna Park [the subdivision between Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and Robinson Road] was a chicken farm."

Winkelmeyer moved to Glen Burnie "about the time Wall Street fell." A millwright by trade, he managed the lumber department at DeGrange lumber and hardware store.

In 1947, the couple opened a feed store and coal yard along the train tracks on B&A Boulevard in the heart of Severna Park. "The farmers would ask us where they could buy paint, so we added Sherwin-Williams paint in '49," recalls Mrs. Winkelmeyer.

The business evolved into a hardware store by 1957.

The hardware store's next-door neighbor, the main house on the chicken farm, became the first public library in Severna Park.

Before it closed more than 20 years later, Winkelmeyer's Hardware had become a Severna Park landmark. The former store now houses Antiques in the Park and Karen Renee Interiors. The coal yard became an Atlantic gasoline station, and its building is now the Severna Park Veterinary Hospital.

Today, the Winkelmeyers concentrate on their family: son, Walt Jr.; daughter, Betty Wells; seven grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

About the same time he opened his store, Winkelmeyer organized the Severna Park Chamber of Commerce and became its first president.

Names of the first officers and board members are familiar in the history of Severna Park: Dave Macey (Macey's Corner), Erma Boone (Severna Park was first called Boone), Cliff Dawson (Dawson's store) and Don Rossi, who owned Chesapeake Hardware on the site of the present Clements Hardware.

In the fall of 1957, chamber members were actively involved in the "orderly development of the Severna Park area." The question before the county was whether or not to rezone the property at McKinsey Road and Ritchie Highway from agricultural to light and heavy commercial.

The members worried that "unless we get a plan for development, present real estate values will go down."

The chamber was instrumental in establishing the Severna Park Health Center on B&A Boulevard in the spring of 1964.

The present chamber, with nearly 300 members, celebrated its 40th birthday Nov. 18 at Busch's Chesapeake Inn.

Pub Date: 12/04/97

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