Arnold is a place everyone on the Broadneck peninsula frequents, whether we're simply passing through, or visiting local shops. But did you ever ask yourself where the name "Arnold" came from?
Broadneck historian Alberta Stornetta is chronicling the area's rich story in a book titled Arnold, MD and Neighbors on the Broadneck, and is aiming for a release by the end of the year.
Stornetta has said it is going to be the book that "puts Arnold on the map," but it also will contain the histories of the Providence and Cape St. Claire areas of the peninsula.
A sampling of the book's opening sections is available for review on the Arnold Preservation Council's website. The first section of the book deals with the origin behind Arnold's naming.
The following is an excerpt of the book, written by Alberta Stornetta:
The Religious Tolerance Act was an open invitation to those Puritan families seeking religious freedom, to come from Virginia (where the Church of England was mandated) to Maryland. Anthony Arnold began the migration of the family from Kent County, Virginia to southern Maryland in 1670. We have reason to believe the Arnold family were Quakers, or Friends, as they called themselves. Several generations later, John Arnold bought a tract of land on the north bank of the Severn River known as "Hammond's Security" for $1,756.50 cash. John Arnold lived in a house, which still stands on Freshfields Lane in Arnold, Maryland. John requested to be buried between two trees in his back yard—some say to keep an eye on his young widow.
John Arnold's eldest son, Elijah Redmond Arnold, married Matilda Hammond, daughter of Dr. William Hammond. They lived in the area now called Rugby Hall. Records of the U.S. Postal Service indicate that a post office was established at Arnold's Store in 1852. This building was Elijah's home; the store was operated in the smaller building attached on the left. The building, after several renovations, still stands at the intersection of Old County Road and Baltimore and Annapolis Boulevard. In 1880 Edgar F. Arnold became post master, and the name was changed from Arnold's Store to just plain Arnold.
Thomas Hamilton Arnold, John's second son, inherited his father's land and became a leader in the community. When the Baltimore and Annapolis Short Line Railroad was allowed to pass through Thomas H. Arnold's property in 1887, he became the station master at Arnold Station. Thomas Arnold owned a store near the tracks, about a mile and a half further south of Elijah's home and store. The Arnold post office was moved to Thomas' store, and renamed Asbury. The archives of Asbury UMC in Arnold contain a receipt from Mr. Arnold's store in the year 1891, with the Asbury address. Mr. Arnold's store became the center of activity as the railroad became an important access to the area.
At first, all of the train stations were three sided sheds set beside the tracks. Mr. Arnold's store, just across the tracks, had a long porch with benches where people could wait for the train, chat with neighbors, pick up their mail, or leave their muddy shoes for nicer ones to wear into town. Arnold's store became the center of activity in the rural community. Finally, in 1902, the post office regained the name of Arnold, and Thomas' grandson, Martin Steele, assumed the operation of the store and was named postmaster. The picture on the left shows Bill Schriefer, Ann Statt, and Clarence "Sonny" Jordan at the station in 1936.
Stornetta is currently seeking stories and memories from Broadneck residents. If you would like to share your story, whether you and your family are old or new to the peninsula, contact Stornetta at email@example.com.