History of Twin Harbors

The Community

The community of "Twin Harbors" was established in 1963 by Maurice Ogle and the "Coventry Corporation" on the site of "Peninsula Farm". Although, a small number of mostly water front homes predated Twin Harbors. The first house completed was 203 Doncaster Road, which was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Cheskis. The community began to steadily grow and, on April 1, 1966, the residents held a meeting to lay the groundwork for The community of "Twin Harbors" was established in 1963 by Maurice Ogle and the "Coventry Corporation" on the site of "Peninsula Farm". To see some older pictures of Twin Harbors click "Here" Although, a small number of mostly water front homes predated Twin Harbors. The first house completed was 203 Doncaster Road, which was purchased that would eventually evolve as an Incorporated Community Association. The steering committee, established at that meeting, developed By-Laws and distributed them to the community residents for review in February of 1967. The first organized meeting was held on May 25, 1967, at the Arnold Fire Department where upon the original By-Laws were approved. (The By-laws were later adopted in 1971). The Articles of Incorporation were adopted on January 6, 1968, and the first official meeting of the "Twin Harbors Community Association, Incorporated" was held on March 27, 1968. On July 14, 1970, the 1.3 acre beach property was deeded to the "Community Association" by Maurice Ogle. The "Association” currently manages that property as well as administering many other community programs.

Peninsula Farm

Peninsula Farm was originally known as Brushy Neck Farm and was owned by James Lark in the 1880’s. The 180 acre farm included the area now occupied by Twin Harbors, the middle schools, and part of Campus Green. The farm was later inherited by Emma Gardner who used the “big white” house on the water (now known as 225 Mill Harbor Drive) as a boarding house and it was known as “Gardner’s Boarding House” for paying summer guests. The farm became the property of Robert L. Werntz in the early 1900’s. Mrs. Maurice C. Ogle inherited the farm in 1928 from her Uncle, Robert Werntz. The Ogle’s farmed the land and then eventually developed or sold the land. The Ogle family moved out of the farm house around 1980.

Excerpt from the book “My River Speaks – The History and Lore of The Magothy River,” by Marianne Taylor, 1998, p. 128-129

On Mill and Dividing Creeks, early land grants reveal that James H. Lark and Joseph Wilson held waterfront farming properties there. Lark’s farm was called Brushy Neck Farm, its principle crop being tobacco in the 1880s. Other inheritors of this primary property fronting the Mathoghy’s broad expanse were Emma Gardner, Robert L. Werntz, and Mrs. Maurice Ogle. Pioneer riverfront families such as James S. Wilson and Samuel T. Wilson farmed along these shores from 1887 to as late as 1945. A part of this area was owned by Emma Gardner and became the property of Robert L. Werntz in the early 1900s. A manor house was built on what is now known as 225 Mill Harbor Drive in the mid-1800s which was formerly occupied in 1939 by Mrs. Maurice Ogle of the governor Ogle family. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to oral history, it used to be a small “hotel” where the ferry side-winder steamers dropped off the city-folk from Baltimore for a brief getaway. The “manor house” stables and smoke house all exist today. Along the waterfront between Dividing Creek and Mill Creek was a ‘County Warf” was the home of the large ferry boat, Diana, which carried passengers from South Ferry point and other points along the north shore of the Magothy. One can assume from its name that there was a mill at Mill Creek; however no historical documentation exists as proof. But in the Maryland Gazette of Feb. 2, 1795 there was a Merchant Mill advertised for sale on the “So side of Maggety,” perhaps the same as the unnamed one on Mill Creek.”

Memories of Peninsula Farm As told by Mrs. Maurice Ogle in an email to Carol Ricketts on September 14, 2007

“Prior to the community, the area that we call Twin Harbors was once part of a larger parcel that extended up to and included the land where the community college is located. The area was originally known as, Brushy Neck. My uncle (mother’s side), Robert Werntz around 1910, originally acquired Brushy Neck. He had a preparatory school for the Naval Academy in the city of Annapolis. He bought the farm as a site to move the school to, but became ill before he could carry out the plan.

When Robert Werntz passed away, Amy Ogle, my mother, inherited the land. She took possession in approximately 1928. Over time, the name of the property changed from Bushy Neck, to Gardner Farm, to Ogle Farm, and then Amy Ogle re-named it Peninsula Farms. Mr. Dunning, the developer, decided on the name Twin Harbors. When my family acquired the land there were just a few very rough, small plots being farmed there by the Gardners.

After my parents acquired the land, they took advantage of the cheap cost of labor in those days and were able to create a large farm. We grew melons, corn, and soybeans, and were the first to grow tobacco. We also had cattle and horses. Training horses was a favorite hobby of my father’s. We had many horses and much land was fenced for the horses. The old stable that you might remember, on the way to the big house, was actually the second stable. The first was nest to the big house, but it was converted to a garage.

The tobacco barn was built around 1934 and Maurice helped to build it when he was a young boy. They set up a mill on the site and Maruice helped drive the mule team – hauling poplar and pine logs that they got from the surrounding woods. Though picturesque, that barn was not really old enough in 198? for any historical organization to be interested in it. Maurice did consider saving the wood, but it was found to bug eaten to the point that the only thing to do was to let it go. In any case, at least at that time, there were many barns in the county much older and of more historical importance than that one.

The wonderful trees that line the road were probably the result of the efforts of my Maurice Ogle’s parents. They used to take pleasure in strolling the farm and digging up seedlings to move and plant in various places. Maurice said he is not certain that they planted those trees, but it seems reasonable to think they might have. When Maruice was a boy the family kept the road (which was sand) clear by suing horses to haul a homemade scraper over it. Maruice had the main road paved in the 1950’s (remnants of the road are visible in what is now Twin Oaks Park).

In the old days you could ride through woods and fields from the Ogle house, all the way to St. Margaret’s and only see a few houses. When I was growing up, I spent much time on the farm. The woods then were full of foxes, raccoons, and opossum as well as loads of black snakes, garden snakes, box turtles and pine lizards. There were no deer back then. The rivers and creeks were full of pickerel, perch, and hard heads in the spring and in tall, there were many rock fish and sea trout and blue fish. Hard crabs were so abundant that they sold at $2.50 a barrel. From the Mackey’s point to where the community beach is now you could pick up a dozen nice soft crabs. The water was so clear that you could stand in water up to your hips and count your toes. I can’t say that it was sanitary though – many people had outhouses built out over the creek!

One misconception that some people have is that the big house (Ogle’s house) at the end of the main road was once a hotel. Actually, it was a very small house when the Gardners had it, only three rooms upstairs and three rooms downstairs. My family added the entire west wing and expanded the east wing, and we only used it as a private residence. Mrs. Gardner did cook and serve food for the crews of the many boats that came through that areas at the time she was there, and that may have led to the idea that the house was a hotel.

You might be interested to know that at the Gardner’s time, the creeks and waters of the Twin Harbors area used to be full of produce boats. Produce and logs were taken from the point where the community beach is now. Bug eyes and skip jacks were used to haul the goods to Baltimore. The site was larger than it is now, but it has eroded over time.

Some other history I might pass along is that before my time, Dividing Creek was a favorite anchorage for commercial sailboats. The public landing at the foot of Dividing Creek Road made it convenient for the crews to access Old Annapolis Blvd and the B&A railroad at Jones Station. Also of interest is that after the civil war, and until WWI there was a large lime kiln at the head of Mill Creek where there is a small community marina today. When I was a child, some of the old furnace parts were still there, along with piles of oyster shells. There was also and old whisky still up on Mill Creek. Again, this part of the story is information that I was told about before I was born in 1922.”

By Adam Yearwood, March 16, 2009