St. Mary’s County
Lord Baltimore had the right idea when he began his colony in 1634 in St. Mary’s City. The first settlement founded by British Catholics on religious tolerance, Maryland’s “St. Maries City” flourished as the state’s capital until 1695. Today, St. Mary’s City is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and Maryland’s western shore is the focus of heavy historic and archeological study.
The county seat for St. Mary’s County Government remained in St. Mary’s City until 1654. From that time, county court was conducted in the homes of various gentlemen in the Leonardtown area, then called “Newtown.” In 1708, the original log courthouse was constructed in Leonardtown, which was used until 1736 when a brick courthouse was constructed and used exclusively until 1999. Currently, there is a complete Governmental Center in the heart of Leonardtown housing an even newer courthouse facility.
For more information on the history of St. Mary’s County visit the website of the Historic Society.
Located just across the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge from St. Mary’s County, Calvert County is bounded by the Chesapeake Bay on the east and the Patuxent River on the west. Calvert County contains about 219 square miles of land and is only nine miles wide at its widest point. This location between to important bodies of water has lead to a rich maritime history which can be explored at the Calvert Marine Museum.
Originally named Patuxent County, Calvert County was created in 1654. In 1658, it was renamed in honor of the Lord Baltimore whose family name was Calvert. Since it’s establishment the county has been the sight of battles with the British, the birthplace of Governor’s of the State of Maryland, and home of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.
For more information on the history Calvert County visit the website of the Calvert County Historical Society.
Charles County is the northern neighbor to St. Mary’s County. Established in 1658, Charles County is located between the Potomac River & the Patuxent River. This strategic location has made it home to military encampments during both the War of 1812 & the Civil Wars. John Wilkes Booth, injured while fleeing the assassination of President Lincoln, stopped in Charles County at the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd for medical attention before moving on to his eventual capture in Virginia. Today visitors can see the Dr. Mudd House Museum and one December weekend each year they can experience a Victorian Christmas there.
Today Charles County is a great location to be in the middle of it all. It is just a short drive to Washington, DC, the state capitol in Annapolis or to the urban amenities of Baltimore. For more information on what to do in Charles County visit their website.