Anne with her dog Kelley
Historically, the Middle Patuxent River was home to Native Americans who farmed and hunted along its banks. During the Industrial Age, millers used the water to power a grist mill. Before slavery was abolished, sites along the river were part of the Underground Railroad.
In the 20th century, part of the riverbank adjacent to the mill became home to James and Anne Robinson. The Robinsons settled on the property not to farm, hunt, or use its power for industry but to enjoy its gurgling waters, the changing seasons in the forest, and the respite it provided from the bustling city of Baltimore.
Although active in their community, James and Anne loved the solitude of their home on the river. Anne planted gardens, remnants of which are still visible in the spring. After James died and Anne continued to age, she realized the importance of maintaining their beautiful spot for future generations. Turning back lucrative offers from would-be developers, Anne was determined to see her land preserved and used for environmental education. To this end, she established the James and Anne Robinson Foundation (Robinson Foundation) to serve as its caretaker and, in conjunction with Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, to build the Robinson Nature Center.