The History of North Shore
Brought to you by the 1967 North Shore Porthole. Credit for material is given to Colonel Mike Geraghty, Cora and Herman Koch, V.S. O'Keefe, M.L. Gibbs, and Dorothy Logan.
The Early Years
North Shore was born through the search of a man for a small waterfront place where he could take his family for the week-end and have fun in the sun. Charles Koch looked the whole Magothy River over for this place. Some were too bad, some had no electricity; and the ones he liked were always too expensive. In those days having electricity in Anne Arundel County was a luxury, and to have it available at the place you me be interested in buying often was the selling point. For instance, North Shore had to pay for all the poles, wire and labor involved in bringing electricity from the nearest point, which in those days was the Mountain Road. The charge was then returned as more homes were built and the load increased.
Through Mr. Gordon Ewing, a real estate salesman trying to find a location for Mr. Koch, the property now known as North Shore was mentioned. After looking over the property and hearing the asking price, Mr. Koch decided this was too rich for him. Mr. Ewing then enlisted the aid of another salesman, a Mr. Burke, whose nickname "windy" fitted him like a glove. Windy explained the virtues of this track; he could see the homes along Sillery Bay, along Grays Creek, he could see the gentle curve of Park Creek with the homes around the edge. In those days if you wanted to go from the Geraghty's to the community beach you had to use a machete to get through the brush. And to go from the community beach to the Hagberg's practically required a safari complete with Indian scout to avoid getting lost in the bush.
In Windy’s View, all that was needed were roads and a little surveying to lay out a few lots and we were in business. He offered to do the job himself – all he required was money. Secretly, the people involved felt that Windy had been in the sun too long. Mr. Koch felt that far too involved for him – after all, he just wanted a small place on the water, and now suddenly he was supposed to be a developer. For some great and wonderful reason, the Windys of this world are never stopped for long. Windy and Ewing located another gentle soul, a Mr. Gilbert Wehr, who also merely wanted a place on the water. Mr. Wehr and Mr. Koch were finally sold on the idea that if this tract were purchased and developed that they would not only get their choice of lots but with a little luck they might get their investment back plus a little interest. Thus the purchase of 170 acres known now as North Shore was consummate in 1932.
The land was purchased from a party named Kelly who were kin to the Rennerts of hotel fame in Baltimore. It has been said that at one time a summer hotel was planned for this tract, although this is only hearsay. The only building on the entire tract at the time of purchase was the residence of Colonel and Mrs. Geraghty, and it was unoccupied and in a state of disrepair. Later it was learned that a family by the name of Judd occupied the place for years, and one of their daughters later became the bride of Mr. Johnson who funded the lumber company in Glen Burnie. Mrs. Johnson visited our place a few times and told stories of her family raising crops and tobacco which were shipped to Baltimore by schooners that docked in Grays Creek. This must have been many years ago because the place had completely grown over with heavy brush and a tangle of vines.
The only means of transportation was by sailboat. It sometimes took two days to sail from Baltimore with adverse winds. Later they used the W.B. & A. Railroad which originally was a steam road, and they kept a sailboat in Cypress Creek. Mr. Smith, who owned an built the cottage on Park Point now occupied by the sisters, tells of having hauled all the building materials for the house and the outbuildings by tug and barge from Baltimore. This was, of course, before the advent of paved roads and trucks. He also told of driving from Baltimore with a fast team of horses and light surrey. A fast passage required as little of 3 ½ hours in good weather. In rainy weather you stayed home or spent the entire day making the trip. This was around 1910.
After the purchase of North Shore, Windy and Ewing really went into high gear. The Roland Park Co. was hired to lay out the roads, survey, and lay out the lots. Building roads in the early 1930s was quite a chore. The tractor as we know it today was then in it’s infancy, especially in these parts; and the one large enough for heavy work were only owned by the county. This was even before someone though to put a blade on the front end. Tractors in those days were only used to pull with.
Windy and Ewing hired a heavy tractor and scrapper from the county and proceeded to build the roads. After a fashion, the roads were hacked out, and hacked is the proper word. The trees were removed and a path was made, and this was the road. Later, of course, everything was improved, but at the beginning it was very rough. The first cellars were dug with horses, plows, and scoops. This will give you an idea of how crude things were in the early 30s.
Home building continued during the 30s. The outbreak of World War II slowed construction due to rationed materials.
A significant event occurred in the early 40s, when on a Easter Monday a major fire, reinforced by game winds, burned from the Lake Shore Post Office Corner to Gibson Corner. Able-bodied men and boys, and some not so able-bodied women, worked desperately to save their homes. Many homes were burned in that fire, but none on the North Shore. A big barn where Mrs. Strong’s house is now was burned, and woods all around, but no houses.
After this fire, the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Department was organized. On man who has served it long and faithfully, Mr. Harrington, lost his home and infant child in the fire. The volunteers of the fire department have done and still are doing splendid work.
Founding of The North Shore Association
The North Shore Association became a corporation on the 24th of March, 1947. The first four directors were Home U. Todd, Jr., David D. Thomas, Jr., H Richers Watkins and Herman F. Koch. Forty members acknowledged the association and perpetration of a land holders restrictive covenant.
In the 1950s, North Shore had become more a year round community than a place of summer residence. During this period, the association became very active in community affairs.
The community beach lot was given to the North Shore Association in 1953 by the North Shore Land Development Co., of which Charles Koch was a principle holder. The lot was swampy with a strip of sandy beach. In 1958, a local contractor with idle equipment, made an extraordinary offer to fill the lot. However, the association could not financially accept until Buscher and Koch contributed the major portion of the costs and needed fill.
Two months later, we had the beginning of a community beach. As years past, the garden club planted a multiflora hedge, grass was sowed, a tennis court was built, a pavilion was constructed, pilings and a sea nettle net were installed, and most recently a concrete bulkhead and boardwalk were poured.
The community pier lot was deeded to the North Shore Association along with the beach lot in 1953. The first pier was built in the late 50s. In 1964 a permanent bulkhead was installed, and dredging to a depth of three feet was completed.
The North Shore Road until a few years ago, was a narrow, rolling and high crowned trail. Community action accelerated complete resurfacing and improvement.
Community at Present (in 1967)
Active association committees have enhanced the esprit de corps of the community. Through their efforts, mutual friendships and projects have been created.
The community teen-agers are organized as a junior council. They preform a number of beneficial services for themselves and the community at large.
Recently the restrictive covenant was tested and found to be a firm instrument of the community.
Today, the community pier lot is receiving attention for necessary improvements.
If the early settlers of the North Shore Land Co. could view the peninsula today, after these relatively few years since its birth, they might realize how much North Shore looks like the original brochure claimed it would.