Quiet Waters.Then and Now
Quiet Waters Park, a gem in the Anne Arundel County Park system, is a prime example of preserving the past for the future. The park has returned to the days when no one lived on the land and the birds and animals were the only inhabitants. Archeological and geological research has revealed that Native Americans did not occupy this particular spot, and that the European settlers who moved into this area in the mid 1600s were probably the first humans to live there.
Archives reveal that William Harkness bought the large piece of land adjacent to today's Harness Creek in 1652. This large estate was divided in 1701 with Joseph Hill owning the larger portion, "Hill's Delight" and later the Lusby family buying "Little Harkness Estate". Until the following century (1800s) both tracts remained the same. "Hill's Delight" was sold and divided numerous times until 1841 when William Rawlings acquired all the land that formed the original Hill purchase. The foundation of his caretaker's house is just east of today's visitor's center.
The Lusby family retained ownership until the 19th century. William Tuck conveyed ownership in 1876 and sold the original Lusby estate in 1909.
In the 1930s the land consisting of the original Hill and Lusby estates was owned by The Simplicity Land Trust and in 1976 the entire holding was deeded to Mary E. Parker who then sold it to the Mary E. Parker Foundation. Anne Arundel County purchased the land from the foundation on October 30, 1987 for 4.5 million dollars. James Lighthizer, who was County Executive at the time of purchase, considers the acquisition of Quiet Waters to be his greatest public accomplishment.
The goal of the park's planners was to balance nature with community activities. Paths were dug and paved. Charming gazebos were built and placed strategically around the grassy areas. Covered picnic areas, with tables and grills were assembled and made available for gatherings. Even an ice skating rink was adapted to the reflecting pool during the winter months. Children's play areas were constructed and reconstructed to accommodate changing safety regulations. Exercise regimens were placed throughout the 3.4 miles of walking/biking/roller-blading trails.
Bluebirds, bright red cardinals, yellow finches, spotted hawks and even the rarely seen pileated woodpecker nest in the park. Squirrels, chipmunks, deer, fox and rabbits make their homes here. The deer are so confident that passersby are friendly, they munch leaves and grass without lifting their tails.
There's an outdoor stage for concerts and religious services, as well as an extraordinarily popular dog playground in nice weather. Families hold reunions here; brides and grooms exchange vows in the pavilions and world-renowned artists have a venue in the park's galleries.
Michael Murdoch, park superintendent, has brought sculptors and artists to the park to display their work in an outdoor setting. The first one visitors see is the massive boat with a tree growing out of it, serving as its mast. Its creator is the artist Alzaruba and he calls it "Hunting Light". The wood sculpture in the woods of the sleeping maiden on the dragon's back is the work of Debra Banker.
This a not a work in progress but a park in progress and we are the fortunate beneficiaries of the park.every day but Tuesday!
More info on the park, its operations and its Friends of the Park can be found on the AA County website, www.aacounty.org.