Document Type


Publication Date



Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Reed Island, Patapsco Valley Park, parks and recreation, land patents, navigable water, water law, natural resources


Court of Appeals of Maryland. H. Milton Wagner, Jr., Amelia W. Sutton, Florence C. Mulligan et al. v. City of Baltimore is an appeals case that started in Anne Arundel County, Maryland in 1916 over an island that was at one point in Maryland state history part of Anne Arundel County. A land patent was issued to John P. Bruns in 1909 and later sold to H. Milton Wager, Sr. The island in question, known as Reed Bird Island, was surveyed in 1908 by the County Surveyor of Anne Arundel County. The land was not found to be covered by navigable water and thus a land patent was issued. Since the island was crossed by the Light Street Bridge and thus the state had to pay for right to access, it makes one question what was the motivation behind the law suit. Did the state ultimately want control over the island that so that the issue of riparian rights would no longer be an issue and the state government could do as they saw fit for development of the area. It would appear that control of the island and ultimately the waterway sparked the governmental interest and thus the legal pursuit of control over the area began. The Light Street Bridge burned in 1914 and was subsequently replaced by the present day Hanover Street Bridge. When the case is resolved in 1956 it would appear that the motivation behind governmental control shifted from trade and commerce and was more about protecting the natural habitat and wetlands as the area was later developed into the Patapsco Valley Park.


Law | Legal History

Included in

Legal History Commons