That DAM Place at Loch Raven
As closely as can be determined, Sanders' Corner was built in 1886 as a blacksmith shop, and it also housed the Loch Raven post office until 1953. A plaque on the wall in the front room lists the names and dates of the past postmasters and postmistresses.
In 1939 the post office and the adjoining house were destroyed by fire. During the two year rebuilding process, the post office occupied a corner near the fireplace. When the structure was rebuilt, there was a federal law which prohibited a post office from standing alone. Since there was no longer a need for a blacksmith shop, that part of the building was turned into a general store and various owners began to sell sandwiches, ice cream and sundry items.
During World War II, the Maryland State Guard lived in the basement throughout 1941 and 1942 to guard and ensure the safety of the dam and the water supply. The Guard spent the remainder of the war in the white house at the foot of the dam which is now used as a maintenance depot for the Loch Raven watershed staff.
The railroad station for the Loch Raven stop of the Ma & Pa Railroad was across Cromwell Bridge Road and up the hill. The train ran from downtown Baltimore to York, Pennsylvania every day until 1956, when the railroad cancelled service. The train stopped at the station and the mail was carried down the steps to the post office. The concrete foundation for the station as well as the steps leading down to Cromwell Bridge Road are still visible today.
Across Loch Raven Drive, where there is now an additional parking lot, there was another general store during the period when the main building was a blacksmith shop. A 1939 photo of that adjacent store was on display in the front room. According to people who remember it, there was also a dance hall in its basement. It apparently was abandoned and fell into ruin, leaving only the ground on which it stood.
The Sanders family took over both corners in 1956 and Leigh C. Sanders began making his own ice cream, which had a large following. As sometimes happens, the recipes lived in his head and went with him when he died in 1986, so the family gave up making ice cream.
The business has been known by various names throughout the years including The Gateway, Lake Drive IN, Sanders Drive In and Sanders' Corner. An addition was built in the fall of 1991 by Ronald H. “Ron” Sanders at which time the general/ice cream store and sandwich shop became a full-service restaurant, which continued to be owned and operated by the Sanders family.
“The restaurant was bought from the Sanders family in 2008 by John Naudain, who made some improvements to the property. The restaurant closed in mid-January, 2011."
Source: The Baltimore Sun [Baltimore, Md] 16 Feb 2011: C.1.