Our History Book is Finally Here!

The Amazing Story of Arundel-on-the-Bay: 1600s to Today

The book chronicles a community evolving from the Gay Nineties, through the segregated Jim Crow era, World War II, women’s liberation, and other 20th and 21st century realities. What emerges in the telling is a portrait of America’s social and cultural history that shaped a community. | press release

The Amazing Story of Arundel-on-the-Bay:1600s to Today is a brand new, fully illustrated, and very detailed chronicle of generations of families that have both loved and endured a special and precarious piece of Chesapeake real estate. This is a book that demonstrates how all of our family histories are worth the telling.

The lavishly illustrated full color book is available at local book stores and on Amazon for $39.95.

>> See a moving student tribute to the contributions of Dr. Aris T. Allen <<


History Book authors - The book was written by a group of history minded neighbors
including (L to R), Philip Allen, Karen Neale, Aris T. Allen Jr., John Moses, Marc Apter,
Pamela Duncan, Arend Thomas, Bill Semenuk, Wilma Coble and (not pictured)
Edie Dolberg and Bob Meissner.


The story of Arundel-on-the-Bay started in 1890, with the purchase of 350 acres south of Annapolis, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay, America’s largest estuary. Lots on this waterfront land acquired by the Chesapeake & Colombia Investment Company were advertised for sale based on the beauty of the site and its solitude as a woodland paradise.

The community distinguished itself in unique ways;

Some Historical Photos

In the spring of 1982 a small plane crashed in the water
by Magnolia Avenue adjacent to the Coble home.
The pilot was not injured.

This 1892 photo shows the “Blackberry Train” tracks along what is now Oyster Harbor. The train brought summer visitors to AOTB from Bay Ridge and Annapolis. In the background on the right is a steamboat tied up to the long pier at the Bay Ridge Resort.

The “Blueberry Train” passenger car was the same as this restored Brill Summer Car of 1902 that now in the Baltimore Trolley Museum. Credit: Baltimore Trolley Museum

Tommy Wothington (front left) was one of the major sources of information and photos for this book. He contributed this 1930s photo along with scores of others from 1929 through the 1960s
on AOTB life in the summers.

Physician Austin Maurice Curtis was a summer resident of AOTB from the 1890s through the 1930’. He was known as one of the ‘Big Four” of Negro medicine and one of a small group of African Americans who owned property in the north end of the community.

At the age of two Louise Linkins Seely was just learning to garden at Chelsea Cottage in AOTB. She contributed unique stories and photos to author Bill Semenuk before her death in 2018 at the age of 105.
Credit: Wilma Coble

Alex Haley visited AOTB in 1981 while dedicating the Kunta Kinte monument’s in Annapolis. He was hosted by Willie Q. and Joyce McManus (left). To Haley’s right is his sister, Lois Haley Butts of Annapolis. Credit: Joyce McManus

This original 1890 plat of AOTB shows that the community originally included much of what is know today as Oyster Harbor.
What is now Fishing Creek was then called Fishing Cove and had an outlet to the South River which no longer exists.


Help Make the History of AOTB Come Alive in a Book and Video

May 2012 Update

AOTB History Project to Publish Book and Video by End of Year
We Need your Help
Learn about how we were the First Community in Maryland to Allow Women to Vote and Much More!

The Arundel on the Bay History Project is completing a book and a video on the history of our community. We plan to have the book published by the end of this year. Arundel on the Bay  started as an organized community in 1890 and has had a star-studded history over the last 120 years. We are asking you to help by donating some of those great old pictures in your attic and sharing your memories. Call Marc Apter to let us know what you have that will help this book be its best 301-904-3690 or marca1030@gmail.com.

Did you know AOTB had a hotel that catered to vacationers from Washington at the turn of the century? That we were an incorporated town and provided woman the vote long before suffrage was won by all women in the US? Would you believe that half the community burned down early in the 20th century? Do you know the real story about how this all white community became almost all black and is now a wonderfully integrated place to live? Help us make this book and video great. Call or write Marc now.

You should also know that we had a railroad with a turnaround at Magnolia and Narragansett Avenues. To give you a foretaste of the AOTB History, click here for a brief, gently-edited excerpt from neighbor Bill Semenuk’s chapter on the C&C Railway.

Volunteer to Help with One or Both

The AOTB board has authorized a project to develop a history of the community. The final products will include a hardbound book and a web-based product. The book will include a history of the community from its inception as well as the history of the land from colonial days to the present.  It will include many early and late 20th century photos of the folks in the community at work and play. 

The web-based product will include many “living history” video interviews of current AOTB community members’ providing their reminisces on the community’s history. It will also include a web-based version of the book.

The project currently is being led by Philip Allen, Marc Apter, Wilma Coble, Pamela Duncan, Ed Johnson, Billy Keyes and John Moses. We are looking for other members of the community to join the leadership team. If you are interested in researching, writing, editing, video production or layout of the print or video/web product. Two meetings have been held.

If you have any historic photos of the community or its residents please bring them to the meeting or let one of us know so we can arrange to scan them for inclusion in the book.

The community has authorized a budget for this project but we need your help to make it a reality. We will review the books other local communities have published and start organizing the production of our effort.

Be part of the making of our history.

Marc Apter
1292 Magnolia Ave.

Read the report of the first planning meeting held on February 5, 2012