Four Rivers Heritage Area

Anne Arundel County

The Publick ouse at Historic Londontown, Anne Arundel CountyMore than three centuries of history, cultural development, and economic enterprise can be traced through the many and diverse sites within Four Rivers: The Heritage Area of Annapolis, London Town & South County. Four Rivers describes both the environment fashioned by the Severn, South, Rhode, and West Rivers, and the cultural landscape that has been created over time. Exemplifying Maryland’s rich historic, cultural and natural legacy, Four Rivers encompasses a wealth of resources of local, state, national, and international significance. These range from the well preserved baroque city plan and historic buildings of Annapolis, Maryland’s capital city and home of the United States Naval Academy and the Maryland State House, to the “lost town” of London Town and the pastoral landscapes, historic sites and tiny watermen’s villages of South County.

Since its certification as one of the first Maryland state heritage areas (there are currently 11 certified and 2 recognized Maryland state heritage areas), ALTSCHA has brought into the community more than $1.9 million in fully-matched grants and one low interest business loan for heritage-related capital and non-capital projects, leveraging total project costs of nearly $6.5 million. City and county grant support to ALTSCHA has been matched at the state level, further leveraging local investment in ALTSCHA's programs and operation. ALTSCHA is the only entity through which nonprofit and for-profit heritage related organizations in this region are eligible for matching grants and loans through the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority program.

As a partnership among the State of Maryland, Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, the Town of Highland Beach, and historic sites, heritage organizations, and businesses, Four Rivers Heritage Area pursues the following goals:

  • Stimulate economic development through heritage tourism.
  • Preserve, protect, strengthen and promote the natural, historic and cultural resources of the heritage area.
  • Develop and nurture educational and recreational experiences for visitors and residents.
  • Become a model for heritage area organizational effectiveness and leverage.
  • Actively support and connect the area’s heritage and cultural institutions and organizations, businesses, and government agencies to forge an interdependent, thriving and sustainable community.


Nestled along 400 miles of waterfront, Four Rivers: The Heritage Area of Annapolis, London Town & South County stretches from Sandy Point State Park at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge through southern Anne Arundel County to Rose Haven at the Calvert County line. Framed by the Chesapeake Bay to the east, the heritage area’s western boundary is Route 2/Solomon Islands Road.


The Annapolis, London Town & South County Heritage Area (ALTSCHA, Inc.) was certified by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority in 2001; approved & authorized by Anne Arundel County in October 2000; added to the County General Development Plan in June 2001; added to the Annapolis Comprehensive Plan by City Council in July 2001; and incorporated as 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2003. Upon certification in 2001, ALTSCHA's management entity, the Coordinating Council, consisted of nineteen representatives of the City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, and area heritage and tourism organizations and businesses. In 2005, ALTSCHA revised its bylaws and created a new nonprofit Board of Directors in order to better pursue its mission. ALTSCHA’s Coordinating Council remains in a crucial advisory role and meets quarterly. ALTSCHA staff consists of a full time Executive Director and a part time Heritage Programs Coordinator. The activities of the Board, Council and staff actively promote regional cooperation, heritage tourism development, and resource preservation in accordance with the state, county and city approved Management Plan.

Management Plan

Preparation of a management plan approved by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority is a requirement for becoming a Maryland “Certified” Heritage Area. The approved Management Plan includes information on the boundaries of the Certified Heritage Area and “Target Investment Zones,” and presents the heritage area’s vision and goals and the strategies, projects, programs, actions, and partnerships that are being implemented to accomplish them.

Click here to view the management plan.

Contact Information

Dr. Carol Benson, Executive Director
Annapolis, London Town, and South County Heritage Area, Inc.

Arundel Center, P.O. Box 2700
44 Calvert Street, MS 1106
Annapolis, MD 21401-1930

Phone & fax: 410-222-1805


This page updated: May 26, 2009