Fifty years ago, Edgemere was the place to settle for those people who wanted to live close to where they worked. At least that's why Elaine Guice and her husband, Jack, moved there in 1950.
Jack worked for the railroad in Sparrows Point, and she taught at Edgemere Elementary School. Although times have changed and Sparrows Point no longer lures the same work force, there's something about the community that makes residents stay.
It's not only the original homeowners or plant workers who never moved, but it's the sons, daughters and grandchildren who seem to carry a desire to return to their roots.
"My son and one daughter and even my grandson - they all have houses on the water and they love it. They came back because a lot of their friends are still here," said Elaine Guice, who also has several friends who have remained in Edgemere through the years. "I go to the senior citizen center, and that's fun because I know just about everyone there. It is just a very friendly and quiet area."
In Edgemere it seems that everyone knows everyone else. "If you want to sell your house in Edgemere, all you have to do is tell your neighbor. You don't have to put it on the market," said Guice, who cautioned against telling your neighbor everything. "You don't talk about anyone here because it might be someone's relative. There are a lot of marriages between the different families."
Craig and Sandy Doyle are an example of that. Both were raised in Edgemere; they knew one another through middle and high schools and their fathers worked at Bethlehem Steel together.
After attending different colleges, the two eventually married and never thought twice about moving back to the community they loved as children and are now raising two children of their own.
"It's not a transient town at all; it's like an Eastern Shore town 20 minutes out of Baltimore," said Sandy Doyle. "My daughter Maureen is a freshman in the same school that I was a freshman in 30 years ago. And in my son Dylan's class, of about 22 students, at least six of the parents I went to school with."
Combine the family atmosphere with some of the best boating in the area and that's the reason the Doyles, who are involved in the local North Point Sailing Association, love their community.
"It's so centrally located, both by boat or car," said Craig Doyle. "It's a great place to have a sail boat. It's all dredged, deep water and ... no bridges."
Edgemere, considered by many outsiders to represent the entire North Point Peninsula, is historically only one of 13 small communities that make up the larger area. And people identify closely with their own smaller mini-neighborhoods, such as Millers Island, Chesapeake Terrace or Lodge Forest.
"Edgemere used to be one small community. But now by saying Edgemere, you cover a lot more territory than you did 40 years ago," said Virginia Tolbert, who moved to the Lodge Forest section of Edgemere 70 years ago. "We live on the water, and the whole area is just surrounded by water. We just like it down here. It's a different way of living."
Growing up in Edgemere was as wonderful for Tolbert as it was for the six children she raised.
"We always enjoyed the water in all the different forms. Whether we were fishing, boating, crabbing or swimming, it's just a nice place to be," Tolbert said.
The area is also rich in history,with the first residents of the area arriving as far back as the1660s when the Todd family of Virginia settled to farm and run a shipping business. The original Todd house was burned by the British in 1814, but another house was built two years later. Recently, Baltimore County allocated $250,000 to the restoration and preservation of the historical home.
The area also boasts two large waterfront parks. The 1,300-acre waterfront North Point State Park covers more than 6 miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay, Back River and Shallow Creek. During the War of 1812, the North Point area was the site of several clashes between colonists and British troops. During the war, the route to Baltimore passed through the park and is known as Defender's Trail.
During the first half of the 20th century, a small part of the park was the home of Bay Shore Park, a bustling recreational site that included an amusement park, dance hall, restaurant, bowling alley and pier.
At the very end of the North Point Peninsula is Fort Howard Park, a 92-acre county park with trails, picnic areas, pavilions and fishing access.
Across Jones Creek, the Pennsylvania Steel Co. erected the first blast furnaces on Sparrows Point by the mid-1880s. The town of Sparrows Point was built to house its employees soon thereafter. In 1916, the Bethlehem Steel Co., based in Bethlehem, Pa., bought the plant.
Edgemere remained primarily an agricultural area and summer recreation spot well into the 1930s. But as Bethlehem Steel continued to grow, many workers found their way across the water to permanent homes on the peninsula.