A Fresh Take: Odenton Heritage Society

July 28, 2023

By Riley Hoaglin

In a county brimming with history, the past is at our very fingertips, if you just know where to look for it. Tucked away in a corner of Anne Arundel, the Odenton Heritage Society (OHS) stands as a remarkable repository that holds more than 170 years of fascinating history.

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Established in 1989, the Odenton Heritage Society has dedicated itself to preserving and cherishing the town’s heritage, and sharing its knowledge of all things Odenton, from its earliest developments to items that offer glimpses into the town’s storied past. Odenton’s growth can be traced back to its connection with major railroads, culminating in the creation of a beautiful town steeped in life and history. 

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As I stepped into the main building of the Odenton History Society — the Historical Center, which formerly was the town’s Old Masonic Hall, located at 1367 Odenton Road — I was immediately drawn into the timeline of town history displayed on the first floor, while the second floor housed a treasure trove of major historical artifacts. The abundance of history that Odenton possesses is nothing short of astounding.

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One particular item that caught my attention on the first floor was the old door from the original firehouse. Before the 1930s, Odenton faced several devastating fires that led to the loss of significant landmarks. In response, nine influential leaders in Odenton came together in 1931 to establish a volunteer fire department, which stands proudly to this day. The old fire door is a unique relic, adorned with paint instructing kids to “stay off fire trucks.” It brought a smile to my face and reminded me of the town’s courage.

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Ascending to the second floor, my favorite section, I marveled at the remarkable growth Odenton has experienced since its establishment in 1870. Among the array of fascinating items, the 1950 “washer machine” stood out as a captivating piece. Donated by a local family in Odenton, this vintage washer machine makes our current laundry day routines seem like a breeze — and led  me to reflect on how much life has changed since then.

The Odenton Heritage Society’s passion for preserving history is palpable throughout the Center’s extensive exhibits. They have done an incredible job. The members of the Odenton Heritage Society are a fantastic group of individuals, deeply committed to sharing their wealth of knowledge with the world. If you have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it!

Admission is free, and they warmly welcome visitors on the first Sunday of every month from 1 to 4 p.m. A journey through the Odenton Heritage Society’s Historical Center will undoubtedly leave you inspired by the rich display of history that this remarkable town has to offer. Find out more here.

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