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A Little Pasadena History

A weekly look at some of Pasadena’s history as told in "The Pasadena Peninsula."

Pasadena Patch is starting a weekly column that looks into the history of Pasadena along with some of its ties to Anne Arundel County. With help from the book The Pasadena Peninsula by Isabel Shipley Cunningham, Patch will share weekly pieces of history from the town of Pasadena.

Here is the inaugural look at Pasadena history:

  • Pasadena, along with a majority of Anne Arundel County was once commonly known for their strawberries.

“In 1850 Anne Arundel County was the most important strawberry producing district in the South,” writes Cunningham. "On June 9, 1852, The Sun reported that an average of 50,000 quarts of strawberries were shipped from Baltimore to Philadelphia daily during the growing season, nearly all from Anne Arundel. Two years later, one-third of the acreage planted in strawberries in the United States and Canada was in Anne Arundel County. Surely a large percentage of those acres was on the peninsula.”

  • An area on Fort Smallwood Road was once the first school for black children in Pasadena.

“In 1873 a free black man, Greenberry Johnson, who had bought property in 1853 and 1865, offered the Board of School Commissioners land for a Rock Point School for black children,” Cunningham writes. “He died before completing this gift, but his children, Mary Johnson, Ann Rebecca Hall and Mary Elizabeth Richards, carried out his wishes, signing the conveyance on [Jan.] 23, 1874.  This school was on what now is Bayside Beach Road at its intersection with what now is Fort Smallwood Road. In 1876, with J.W. Robinson as their teacher, black children on the peninsula attended school for the first time.”

  • Johnsontown Road, in Lake Shore, was named after two brothers who helped build a local church.

Mount Zion Church, sometimes called Magothy-Mount Zion, incorporated in 1868 and moved just west of its present site in 1878," Cunningham writes "Johnsontown nearby was named for the Johnson brothers who hauled logs that were used in building the church.”

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