On February 25, 1932, the following announcement appeared in the Maryland Gazette! “A cordial invitation is extended to all men who fought in the World War to meet at the old Catholic Hall on Monday evening at 8 o’clock when a Glen Burnie Post of the American Legion will be organized.”
Nineteen men met on that evening, and as a result of their efforts, a temporary charter was granted to Glen Burnie Post #40 on March 21, 1932. ( A permanent charter was granted on March 10, 1934.)
During the next several years, the post met a several civic halls, fire halls, schools, and clubs, and for the most part, increased slightly in membership each year. By 1936, there were 78 members. In 1937 and 1938, there was a drop in membership, but the post was on the rise again in 1939.
In 1939 the post acquired two lots on 5th Avenue, and in early September of that year, construction of a post Home was started. Most of the labor was provided by the membership, without compensation. On December 31, 1939, the first affair, a New Years Eve Party, was held.
Dedication ceremonies were held on May 19, 1940 at 3 pm. Among those present and participating were Department Commander James B. Fitzgerald and Governor Herbert B. O’Connor. Several years later, an addition was made to the building and a third lot was acquired. The addition is currently referred to as the “annex”.
Throughout the years, Post 40 has been very active in Legion programs, and to charities throughout the State.
Glen Burnie History
The first modern settlement of Glen Burnie commenced when land was deeded to Elias Glenn, who established a county seat in the area. The Glenn family ran a sucessful business during the 19th century known as the Curtis Creek Mining Company, and the settlement was officially recognized by the state of Maryland in 1888. It wasn't until 1930 that the name was officially changed to Glen Burnie.
Glen Burnie gained two major thoroughfares in the early part of the 20th century which spurred its growth. The first was Crain Highway, which connected Baltimore to US 301 in 1927, and became the town's main street. In 1939, Ritchie Highway opened, a four lane highway which connected Baltimore with Annapolis and which ran parallel to Crain Highway for several miles. After World War 2, Ritchie Highway became the focus of growth and a bustling commercial district developed along its roadside in the 1940s and 1950s, in particular car dealerships and shopping centers which dominate Ritchie Highway to this day. Along with the commercial development, thousands of houses were built in Levittown style developments in the areas surrounding the commercial development along Ritchie Highway. In 1959, Glen Burnie became host to Harundale Mall, the nation's first totally enclosed shopping mall, the first of several malls to be built in Glen Burnie. In 1961, the State of Maryland opened the new main office of the Motor Vehicle Administration at the north end of town adjacent to the then brand new interchange with the Baltimore Beltway. In a town that seemingly was built to sell and service the automotive lifestyle, it seems fitting that the MVA was located in Glen Burnie.
Life wasn't so sweet along Crain Highway in the 1960s however. Development had bypassed the older commercial business district, and the business district along Crain near B & A Boulevard deteriorated into a seedy and blighted stretch of abandoned storefronts, seedy bars, garages,while development boomed along nearby Ritchie Highway. In addition, the B &A Railroad had been abandoned, leaving a derelict abandoned right of way right adjacent to the old commercial district.
In the 1970's an effort to revitalize the old downtown was undertaken. The centerpiece was a new courthouse and local government service facility located between Ritchie Highway and Crain Highway, along B & A Boulevard. The new courthouse and government center also included an adjacent parking garage which provided badly needed parking not only for employees of the government center, but for local businesses as well. A new multiplex theater was also built as part of the center. The efforts to redevelop the "downtown" continued with the conversion of the abandoned B & A Railroad right of way into a hiker-biker trail.