Hills and valleys that once grew tobacco have sprouted houses, townhouses, apartments,
pools, shops, and pathways. The name is the same -- Long Reach -- but the visage is
different from the days when Major Edward Dorsey's plantation covered this narrow
stretch of land on the frontier of Anne Arundel County.|
On August 20, 1664, Lord Baltimore granted the Dorsey brothers (John, Joshua, and Edward) a 400-acre plantation on the Cabin Neck Branch west of the Severn River in Anne Arundel County. On November 10, 1695, Edward patented a 448-acre plantation on the county's frontier, which later became part of Howard County, and today is Long Reach, the name of the original land grant. It is likely that some of the impetus Edward felt for settling on his own land came from the size of his family -- he sired 13 children in two marriages.
Edward was a prominent military and civic leader. He rose to colonel in the local militia, served as justice and commissioner of Anne Arundel County, and was a delegate to the Maryland Assembly from 1696 to 1704. The Assembly met at his townhouse in Annapolis until the Court House was completed. He was a supporter of religious freedom and helped to fund free schools.
At his death in 1704 or 1705, Edward Dorsey divided Long Reach among three of his sons -- Nicholas, Benjamin, and John. Dorsey descendants have been Howard Countians ever since, but the Long Reach lands passed from the Dorseys to other families. When James Rouse was purchasing land for Columbia in the early 1960's, the Long Reach area had three owners: Gerald Joseph & Mary Lee Muth, Gertrude K. Winkles, and Henry Kinder.
Construction plans for Long Reach were outlined in Fall 1969. The Village would have four neighborhoods and the opening of the first Neighborhood Center was set for June 1970 (actually, Locust Park Neighborhood Center, did not open until February, 1973: Phelps Luck N. C. followed in September 1973). The Village Center was scheduled for completion by Spring 1971 (actually, the Center did not open until April 1974).
As in the other villages of Columbia, all types of housing were planned for Long Reach: townhouses, single-family detached homes, garden apartments, low-income housing. The Village was to retain a large wooded stream traversing the neighborhoods while ponds and naturally wooded areas would remain as neighborhood parks.
In June 1971, Howard Research and Development Corp. (HRD) announced that Long Reach would be "the first comprehensively planned village in Columbia." Other villages had been planned neighborhood by neighborhood, but the total concept of integrating open space and dwelling space had been considered in planning Long Reach. Although the neighborhoods would be planned prior to construction, resident input was still a vital part of the planning process. Cluster housing was used to preserve as much open space (20% of the land) as possible, and unique measures were taken to protect the Little Patuxent River from collecting further sedimentation during the construction phase.
Construction of Long Reach began in Spring 1971 when grading for sedimentation control started. In Fall 1971, the first residents moved into some single-family houses, well over a year after the orginal projected date. On February 10, 1972, these residents (65 of 204 eligible household units) elected the first Long Reach Village Board (Miriam Schiffman, Irvin Moore, Gerald DeBaun, Ken Aaronson, and Don Klein, chairperson) and the first Long Reach Representative to the Columbia Council (Richard McCloud). Lucy Lather was hired as the first Village Manager. On March 11, 1972, the first issue of the Village newsletter, REACH OUT, founded by Gini Edwards, was published.
The newly elected Board passed a resolution supporting the Oakland Mills Village Board against the proposed rezoning of the Duncan-O'Neill property (now Glenmont) which lay between both villages. In 1973, the Board again joined with its counterpart in Oakland Mills to fight the rezoning of Sewell's Orchard. Both boards jointly hired a lawyer to represent their interests, and to pay the legal fees, the LR Board launched a Village-wide canvess for funds: more than $1300 was collected by LR volunteers and placed in a separate account for legal fees. Long Reach is also indebted to Oakland Mills which provided meeting space for Board meetings until Phelps Luck Elementary School opened.
While waiting for CA to provide neighborhood centers, pools, paths, and other recreational services, Long Reach developed its first legend: "Sam the Man with the Van". CA supported Sam Andelman as a roving recreation leader: his van made eight scheduled stops in Long Reach each week. A high school art teacher, Sam spent the summer amusing the younger set with field trips, games, films, and the silk-screening of Long Reach T-shirts. He saw 75 to 90 children each day and made up for much of the lack of tot lots and pools.
In March 1972, HRD announced that Phelps Luck Elementary School would open in September 1972 (it did, on time) and the middle school would open in Fall 1974 (it never did). The fourth, still unnamed, neighborhood, would start in 1975 (actually, it would be four years before residents moved into Kendall Ridge). The first three neighborhoods would have 3,430 dwelling units (1,024 single-family homes, 954 townhouses, and 1452 garden apartments).
A town meeting in 1972 yielded a resident opinion poll that firmly established an "arts and crafts center" as the Village's recreational facility; in July 1974, Antioch University's Visual Art Center opened. In September 1974, Stonehouse, the Village Community Center, opened. Earlier that year (in April), the long-awaited commercial center, featuring the largest supermarket in Columbia and many other variety stores, opened a year late.
On the night of May 16, 1972, the Village suffered, and weathered, its first tragedy. Residents on Storm Drift watched helplessly as the house of David and Rosemarie Kumpe was destroyed by fire. Mrs. Kumpe had just delivered the couple's first son and her husband was visiting her in the hospital when the fire began. Nearly everything, even the family cat and her litter of kittens, was lost.
"However, I cannot help but marvel at the quick action, the warm response, and the quiet heroism which the night's tragedy called forth," said Gini Edwards, REACH OUT Editor-in-Chief. Long Reach residents responded with money, clothing, food, housewares, and furnishings. Enough furniture was donated to furnish a whole house. A total of $200 was collected for clothes and food. The Kumpes were overwhelmed by the idea that total strangers cared enough to contribute so much. From that tragedy, a community spirit that had begun with elections, town meetings, committees, and beer busts, began to grow.
A word about Long Reach names. "Phelps Luck" is a modification of the original land grant, "Phelps His Luck", a 238-acre plantation patented by Walter Phelps on December 10, 1695. "Locust Park" was originally "Locust Thicket" on the land-grant map. "Treover" and "Majors Lane" are also from land grants. "Kendall" appeared on two land-grant maps in 1707. "Jeffers Hill" was named for poet Robinson Jeffers.