HISTORY OF CAPE ARTHUR
Beautiful trees and sandy beach combine to make Cape Arthur a wonderful place to live. Located three-fourths of a mile off Ritchie Highway and eighteen miles from Baltimore, seven miles from Annapolis, and just one mile from the center of Severna Park, it is no wonder that it developed so quickly as an ideal spot for suburban living. A broad expanse of the Magothy River on the east and a point that leads into Cypress Creek on its west side make it well situated for the enjoyment of all water activities.
Historians have recorded that where the private beach for residents is now located, was a perfect place for Indian powwows or gatherings. It is stated that smoke signals could be seen from it all along the broad expanse of the Magothy, across the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore. Originally, it was a large land grant running from Greenbury Point to Robinson Station called Greenbury Forest. The section where Cape Arthur is was known as Howard's Folly.
A large old brick house called "Magothy Hall" once stood near the locations of the lots where #5 and #7 Beach Road are today. Swepson Earle in his book, The Chesapeake Bay Country, writes: "The date of the building of this house has never been verified, but from tradition it was more than a century old. The house is of red brick with two wings and has the usual hall through the center which gives a clear way for the summer breezes which sweep from the bay over the Magothy. On each side are large, square rooms." "Magothy Hall" was once the home of Folger McKinsey, better known as the Bentztown Bard. He was a newspaper columnist for the Baltimore Sun.
In 1906, Mr. McKinsey purchased Magothy Hall as his residence. He thought it would make an ideal peach farm and started planting many trees. Before the trees could bear fruit, however, a tornado ripped through the property felling the trees. In 1914, he built a log cabin on Cypress Creek and sold Magothy Hall to Mrs. Anne V. McKim. The house was later destroyed by fire.
The McKinsey influence is reflected in Cape Arthur in two ways. First, the main road leading from Ritchie Highway to Cape Arthur is McKinsey Road. Second, when a new elementary school was erected on Arundel Beach Road and Sunset Drive, it was named the Folger McKinsey School.
In 1925, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur W. Giddings came to the United States from Wiltshire, England, and in 1932 came to live in the Severna Park area. They had five children, Kathleen, Ronald, Marie, John, and Robert. Mrs. Anne McKim sold twelve acres of waterfront property to Mr. and Mrs. Giddings in 1948 and later they added 78 acres from H. Sturdevant to the original tract of land. During the succeeding years, Mr. and Mrs. Giddings and their son, Ronald, developed the subdivided lots with homes now numbering about 211.
On August 4, 1966, our entire community was saddened by the passing of Arthur Giddings. The following April, a memorial service was held at the intersection of McKinsey and Giddings Avenue to dedicate a bronze memorial plaque and surrounding garden of flowers and evergreens. This was given by the residents of Cape Arthur to commemorate our founder and developer.
Arthur's wife, Lydia, passed away on May 27, 1987. For her contribution to the community, the Cape Arthur Improvement Association and the Cape Arthur Garden Club dedicated the playground to her memory on July 2, 1988.
History of the Cape Arthur Improvement Association
The Cape Arthur Improvement Association was founded on May 5, 1954, to promote the general welfare of the owners and residents of Cape Arthur. This organization exists for the express purpose of making our community an ideal place in which to live with the continued desire to have 100 percent participation by all the owners and residents.
The Association has made many improvements to the playground and beach, has added to the beautification as well as to the safety of these areas, and has supported many civic activities. The following are a few of the facilities provided and supported: all-purpose court, breakwater, bulkheads, piers, boat slips, dinghy racks, boat launching ramp, picnic tables, and the ice eaters.
The Association has for many years maintained membership in the Magothy River Association. Cape Arthur is also a member of the Greater Severna Park Council. Both of these organizations are supported by neighboring communities for the purpose of protecting the best interests of all.
Every family in Cape Arthur benefits from the improvements and activities supported by the Cape Arthur Improvement Association. Each property owner, whether or not a CAIA member, has the limited use of the beach for bathing. This privilege automatically passes in the deed as new owners buy in Cape Arthur. The CAIA established the rules and bears the responsibility for their proper observance by the users. The capital improvements in the beach area including the bulkheads, pilings, piers, dinghy racks, parking lot, picnic ground, boat ramp, and security gate are costly assets maintained by the Association for the use of its members.
Membership dues and fees, substantially augmented by the volunteered services of the various standing committees of the CAIA, keep those capital facilities in operation. The combination of the bathing beach privileges afforded by the owners and the capital improvements made by the Association result in a strong contribution to the high property values and residential enjoyment qualities that are unique to Cape Arthur.
The Association sponsors a yearly Christmas social, an annual fourth of July celebration, and other social events.
The Board of Directors is elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting in October. The Association has seven standing committees, each chaired by a member of the Board.
Suggestions to the Board for the betterment of the general welfare of Cape Arthur are always welcome.