History in Glenarden

Glenarden enjoys a rich and diverse historic and cultural heritage. Poised to celebrate its 80-Year Anniversary Celebration, the city traces its roots to 1919 when W. R. Smith purchased a group of properties about 10 miles east of Washington, D.C., and established there a residential community of 15 people. Three decades later, under the banner of its energetic Civic Association, the African-American, middle-class suburban community that had developed from Mr. Smith’s venture petitioned the State Legislature for incorporation as the Town of Glenarden. The charter was granted on March 30, 1939, making Glenarden the third predominately black incorporated town in the State of Maryland. W. H. Swann was elected as its first mayor.

In April 1994, the Town Council adopted a resolution to change the name of the community from Town of Glenarden to City of Glenarden. The change took effect 50 days after it was adopted.

The City of Glenarden takes particular pride in participation in government and the education of its children. It has produced state senators, delegates, county councilmen, and other civic leaders.