Plaque noting importance of Boone House presented


April 05, 2001|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SEVERN SCHOOL opened its doors in 1914 as a preparatory school for young men aspiring to attend the Naval Academy. The private school, co-ed since 1971, shows every sign of still being around a little more than a decade from now to celebrate its centennial.

But one building on the Severna Park campus - the venerable Boone House - is well into its second century of service as a home and, since 1981, as the school's administration building.

Boone House, on Maple Avenue, was built in 1860 - when the nation was on the brink of civil war - by Thomas and Elizabeth Linsted Boone on property the latter inherited from her parents.

The couple sold a "strip of land" in 1887 to the Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line railroad for its track and a station. Completed in 1919, the station and the community that developed around it were called Boone.

The population began to increase significantly about the time of World War I, and developers held a contest to rename the growing community. The winner: Severna Park.

Originally, Boone House was the main house, on nearly 2,000 acres bordered by the Severn River, from Linsted to Round Bay. The property included woodlands and a working farm that produced chickens and crops such as corn, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and wheat.

To commemorate the significance of the 141-year-old house and property, the Anne of Arrundell Chapter of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century presented a bronze plaque to Severn School Headmaster Bill Creeden in a ceremony at the house yesterday.

Catherine Masek, a society member and mother of Severn School sophomore Edward Masek, said the significance of the Boone homestead is the property, first granted in 1680 to Christopher Randall.

Later, the property was acquired by the Linsted family, namesakes of the present Linsted community. Otto and Emma Molter purchased the house in 1913. Their son, Nelson, wrote a history, "Severna Park, Anne Arundel County, A History of the Area."

In his book, Molter describes a less-populated period in Old Severna Park: "Except for the house at the corner of Riggs Avenue and Evergreen Drive, one could drive along Riggs toward Linsted in 1911 and not see a single house on the right side. The only building on the left was the Cox house [now 115 Riggs Ave.]."

Severn School bought the property in 1981 from Guy and Madelyn Merritt. The couple had renovated the home, removing its typical open wooden porch, which wrapped around three sides of the house, and adding a smaller screened porch.

For several decades, until its purchase by the Merritts, the Boone homestead had been a rooming house for, among others, Severn faculty members and students. Severn was primarily a boarding school until 1974.

Catherine Masek, a consultant in microscopic analysis of historic paint for historic preservation projects, said the purpose of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century is "to maintain a library specializing in 17th-century Colonial America."

The Anne of Arrundell Chapter - one of several in Maryland - presents a commemorative marker every two years to honor a historic Maryland property, she said. Recipients in past years include the Benson-Hammond House in Linthicum, headquarters of the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society; a tiny stone building in Davidsonville that had housed the historic Annearrundell Free School; and several churches in south county.

The keynote speaker at yesterday's ceremony was Severna Park native Scott Jay, a font of historical information about Severna Park. He has restored and lives in Linsted-on-the-Severn, built in the 18th century by the parents of Elizabeth Linsted Boone.

Severn alumni event

Severn School graduates are making plans to attend its annual Alumni Weekend April 20-22.

The weekend includes an awards ceremony featuring presentation of the 2001 Rolland M. Teel Distinguished Alumni Award, named for the school's founder. Receiving the award this year will be retired Army Lt. Gen. W.H. Sterling Wright, Class of 1926, and Alester G. Furman III, Class of 1935.

The alumni also will honor the newest inductees of Severn's Athletic Hall of Fame: Randall J. Coupland III, Class of 1937; William W. Hargrave Jr., Class of 1950; Megan Mylander Hanson, Class of 1980; and Willie H. Mitchell, Class of 1981.

Information: 410-647-7700.

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