Severn River (Maryland)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other rivers named "Severn", see Severn River (disambiguation).
Severn River
Severn River with the Naval Academy Bridge in the distance
Country United States
State Maryland
 - left Chartwell Branch, Cold Spring Branch
 - right Jabez Branch, Indian Creek
Cities Annapolis, Arnold, Severna Park, Crownsville, Millersville, Severn
 - location Severn, Maryland
Mouth Chesapeake Bay
 - elevation 0 ft (0 m)

The Severn River runs 14 miles (23 km)[1] through Anne Arundel County in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is located south of the Magothy River, and north of the South River.


The Severn has a watershed area (including the water surface) of 81 square miles (210 km2), or 69 square miles (180 km2) of land. Thus, its total watershed area is 15% water. From its headwaters in western Anne Arundel County in Gambrills, the river enters the Chesapeake Bay at the major port city of Annapolis, also the capital of Maryland. Most famous for the United States Naval Academy campus situated at the mouth of the river, the Severn provides an access point to the Chesapeake Bay for fishermen, hobby boaters, and Midshipmen. Its nontidal portion is called Severn Run, which has several branches, including Jabez Branch. Several of its creeks drain highly developed areas, including Weems Creek and its nontidal portion Cowhide Branch, which drain most of the Annapolis Mall and the Anne Arundel Medical Center.

The Severn is crossed by two bridges. One, known as the Severn River Bridge or Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, carries US 50/US 301/MD 2 and was first built in 1886. The other carries MD 450, and is now officially named the "US Naval Academy Bridge" because its south end is near the academy. The latter bridge was built as a drawbridge in the late 1920s and replaced with the current high span in 1994. There used to be a railroad trestle between the two current bridges, built in about 1887 for the Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line Railroad (which became part of the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railway), that was removed after 1968 when it was declared unsafe.

Almost all of the tidal creeks and coves on the Severn are named, along with many of the nontidal creeks that drain to them, as the result of a project started in 2001 by the Magothy River Association, working with the Severn River Association, and funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The late Colby Rucker was very helpful with finding the names. Some of the names are only shown on the map produced by the Severn River Association in 2005.[2] If the upper nontidal portion has a different name, or there are named creeks or coves off that creek, they are listed after the &.

North Shore (Upriver to downriver, 18)
  • Pointfield Branch
  • Bear Branch
  • Cold Spring Branch (Cool Spring Branch)
  • Chartwell Branch
  • Stevens Creek & Lake Liberty
  • Rock Cove
  • Forked Creek & Sacketts Pond
  • Yantz Creek (Yantz Cove) & Cedar Creek
  • Sullivan Cove (Sullivans Cove)
  • Ringgold Cove
  • Asquith Creek (Aisquith Creek)
  • Rays Pond (Ray Pond)
  • Chase Creek (Timberneck Creek)
  • Cool Spring Cove (or Creek)
  • Winchester Pond (Crouchs Pond)
  • Manresa Pond (Browns Cove or Pond)
  • Woolchurch Cove & Pond
  • Carr Creek (Carrs Creek)
South Shore (Upriver to downriver, 24)
  • Sewell Spring Branch
  • Indian Creek & Indian Creek Branch
  • Cypress Branch
  • Arden Pond
  • Plum Creek & Gumbottom Branch
  • Valentine Creek
  • Old Place Creek (Fox Creek)
  • Browns Cove (on Little Round Bay)
  • Maynadier Creek & Deep Ditch Branch
  • Hopkins Creek & Davids Run
  • Brewer Pond & Arthurs Run
  • Brewer Creek & Howards Branch
  • Clements Creek & Hockley Branch
  • Saltworks Creek & Cabin Branch
  • Martins Pond (Whitehurst Lake)
  • Luce Creek & Howard Creek
  • Cove of Cork
  • Weems Creek & Cowhide Branch
  • Shady Lake
  • College Creek (Dorsey Creek)
  • Spa Creek (Spaw Creek, Carrols Creek)
  • Back Creek
  • Chase Pond & Heron Lake
  • Lake Ogleton
Whitehall Bay (west to east, 7)
  • Mill Creek & Burley & Little Burley Creeks
  • Pleasant Lake
  • Whitehall Creek & Ridout Creek
  • Meredith Creek & Jacks Cove
  • Moss Pond (entrance eroded, looks like two coves)
  • Westinghouse Bay (S of US 50 near Bay Bridge)
  • Shorts Creek & Mezick Pond (N of US 50, creek leads to pond with marina)


The first colonial settlement on the south side of the Severn, and in Anne Arundel County, came in the fall and winter of 1649–1650 by a mass migration of a group of Puritans and non-conformists from the Lower Norfolk County in Virginia [3] and called Providence (also called Towne Neck).[4] It was abandoned in about 1670 because Annapolis had a better harbor. This "lost town" was in the Carr Creek watershed near Greenbury Point, across the river from Annapolis. It was on what are now grounds of Naval Station Annapolis (recently renamed Naval Support Activity Annapolis). The land on which it was located has probably all eroded away.


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 1, 2011
  2. ^ Severn River map (Available from the Severn River Association)
  3. ^ Caleb Dorsey, "Original Land Grants of the South Side of Severn River," Maryland Historical Magazine vol. 53 (no. 4, December 1958):394-400
  4. ^ James E. Moss, Providence: Ye Lost Towne at the Severn in Maryland (Washington, DC: 1976)

Further reading[edit]

Severn River area publications and forums[edit]

Coordinates: 38°58′13″N 76°27′43″W / 38.97028°N 76.46194°W / 38.97028; -76.46194