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History

Park Profile - North Point Visitor Center

A tern rests in her nest at the park.People of all ages, occupations and interests have long sought out the enjoyment provided by Marylandís unique natural, cultural, recreational and historical resources. And the ultimate source for experiencing this rich and exciting catalog of sites has traditionally been within Marylandís state parks and forests. Today visitors to southeastern Baltimore County can take advantage of one of the DNRs premier attractions, the Visitor Center at North Point State Park.

The unique property of North Point was acquired by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 1987 with the assistance of The Nature Conservancy and Baltimore County. Previously owned by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the 1,320-acre property and its many extraordinary resources were used exclusively by a select group of company executives who enjoyed private fishing, hunting and trapping within the 350 acres of tidal marsh along six miles of Chesapeake Bay shoreline.

A colorful history
An abundance of historical resources are located within the park as well, ensuring visits to the park provide interesting opportunities for exploration and discovery. While the North Point area has been continuously farmed for 350 years, evidence of human occupation dates back 9,000 years. The park boasts 11 prehistoric archaeological sites and is further complemented by nine historically significant sites.

Visitor center at North Point State Park.

During the War of 1812, the North Point property was the site of several skirmishes between units from the Maryland State Militia and British troops invading Baltimore from the southeast. Advancing (and retreating) British troops passed through the North Point area.

In the first half of the 20th century, a small section of the North Point property was occupied by an impressive amusement park. Built by the United Railways and Electric Company in 1906, Bay Shore Park was an attractive getaway for residents of Baltimore City and the surrounding areas. In its heyday, meticulously manicured gardens and pathways accented sprawling grounds, and elegant Edwardian architecture dotted the landscape. For the price of a trolley ride, young and old alike could seek respite from the cityís oppressive summer heat at the parkís saltwater bathing beach, large picnic area and amusement attractions. Like most of the Chesapeakeís seaside amusement parks, Bay Shore Park was closed in 1947. Today little remains of this once premier park.

The property was then purchased by Bethlehem Steel in an attempt to prevent rival U.S. Steel from developing a manufacturing plant there. Remarkably, Bethlehem Steelís ownership resulted in the propertyís ultimate preservation, leaving its diverse, unique natural and historical areas virtually untouched by intrusive activities. 

Visitors welcome!
Today, prominently constructed within the footprint of the former Bay Shore Park, stands a beautiful tribute to the nostalgic past. North Pointís Visitor Center, the culmination of 12 years of planning and preparation, was completed on April 30, 2002. Located on the foundation of what was once Bay Shore Parkís restaurant, the facility was designed in a style reminiscent of the former landmark. It features a vaulted ceiling, skylights and large windows, and provides an abundance of natural lighting and lush scenery for all to enjoy. This new facility exemplifies the dedication and devotion of North Pointís many hardworking employees, volunteers and community members.

North Point State Park offers a variety of exciting educational and recreational opportunities appropriate for all ages. Its features include a family-oriented wading beach, a host of interpretive programs, fishing along the parkís six miles of shoreline, and hiking along four miles of trails that extend into the neighboring community of Edgemere. Whichever you choose, the staff and volunteers of North Point State Park are confident that your visit to this Maryland treasure will prove to be a cherished experience.

Note: This article first appeared in the Spring 2003 issue of The Natural Resource Magazine, Officer Rick Ruszin currently serves with the Natural Resource Police in the Central Region  Officer Ruszin also provided the photos for this article.
 

For More Information...

Getting There
North Point State Park is located in southeastern Baltimore County near the community of Edgemere. From 695 east of Baltimore, use Exit 42. From 695 west of Baltimore, use Exit 43. Follow signs to Fort Howard (Rt. 20). The park entrance is on the left, one≠half mile from Millers Island Road.

For more information, call (410) 592-2897.

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