The History of Crofton
In 1632, King Charles I granted the Maryland territory to
Cecil Calvert, the Second Lord of Baltimore. Except for a period of 1689 to
1715, the five successive Lord Baltimore attempted to rule their Maryland
Providence as a feudal estate. At first, land was granted to allies and
friend of the Calverts. Then, in 1683, the proprietor began to sell land for 200
pounds of tobacco per 100 acres. By 1776, land cost 5 pounds sterling per 100
The first European immigrants came to the Crofton area in the 1660's and 1670's.
They found abundant wildlife, such as wolves, bobcats, deer, elk, bear, beaver,
mink, squirrels, raccoons, a large variety of birds and fish and other sea life.
They also found themselves amidst a "great forest unlike anything seen in
the British Isles." The first settlers cleared much of the forest land and
depended almost entirely on the export of tobacco to England for their livelihood.
What is now Route 424 is considered the first true road in the Crofton area. It was
originally known as Ridge Road and followed the ridge that separated the South River
and the Patuxent River, linking up with the Londontown route in the south. For
access to a newly developed road, the Jesuits at Whitemarsh Chapel built a bridge
across the Patuxent. Their bridge. known as Priest's Bridge, connected connected the land
they owned on both sides of the Patuxent River. This bridge was for their own
use. With the introduction of automobiles and with Crofton's strategic position between
Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis, the Crofton area became an important automobile
junction. On July 16, 1927, Defense Highway Route 450), named because it linked the Naval Academy in
Annapolis with Washington, D.C., was dedicated in a ceremony with officials from the District of Columbia, Maryland and the Navy.
On November 1, 1772, a meeting was held marking the beginning of a school in the
Crofton area. The school, Anne Arundel Free School, was located in the community
of Lavall, about four miles east of Crofton. Crofton now has three elementary schools
and a middle school within its bounds. Crofton also has four nursery schools, six
churches, and an 18 hole Championship Golf Course.
Crofton was developed as a private community in 1964 by the Crofton Corporation.
Several years later a group of residents established the Crofton Civic Association
to promote civic awareness in the new community and to protect what had drawn them
there in the first place. In 1969 the Anne Arundel County Council passed legislation
to set up the Crofton Special Community Benefit District (CSCBD). It is comprised
of the land roughly bounded by routes 3, 424, and 450.
The CSCBD provides police protection in addition to that provided by the
county, maintenance of public areas and recreational facilities, and other services the
community may propose, subject to the County Council's approval.
For further reading on the Crofton area, see "From Sotweed to Suburbia" by Dr.
Joseph Brown, at the local library.
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