Elkridge Landing

Elkridge Landing was a Patapsco River seaport in Maryland, and is now part of Elkridge, Maryland. The historic Elkridge Furnace Inn site resides within the Patapsco Valley State Park.

Elkridge Landing
Elkridge Main Street.jpg
Elkridge Main Street
LocationElkridge, Maryland
Coordinates39°12′58.09″N 76°42′33.22″W / 39.2161361°N 76.7092278°W / 39.2161361; -76.7092278
Area100 acres
Official nameElkridge Landing Historic District
Reference no.HO-784
Elkridge Landing is located in Maryland
Elkridge Landing
Location of Elkridge Landing in Maryland


Elkridge is located in present-day Howard County, Maryland, west of the Patapsco River, south of Route 1, and with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B and O Railroad) running through the middle of the historic district. The historic roads are the old Washington Turnpike, now Main Street, Railroad Avenue, Paradise Avenue, Elkridge Heights Road and Furnace Avenue.[1]


The Elkridge siteEdit

Pottery has been found dating back to 1800 B.C.E. and there is evidence of settlement along the Patapsco River until 1500 C.E.[2]


In 1690 the town and seaport of Elkridge Landing was settled in the Patapsco Valley of the Colony of Maryland.[nb 1] It was a deep-water port, with a channel about 10 to 14 feet deep, that brought ships inland from the Chesapeake Bay.[3] Tobacco casks, or hogsheads, were rolled down Rolling Hill to the port by "long strings of slaves" and boarded ships. Manufactured iron was also shipped out of the port.[4][5]

Native Americans lived north of the Elkridge Landing site in 1692 and rangers were appointed among the settlers to keep watch.[2]

Around 1725 a 28 by 16 foot "Rowling House" with clapboard siding was built on the landing to store tobacco rolled in hogsheads to market. In 1727, the state ended the practice of having ship sailors personally retrieve hogsheads of tobacco themselves. Inland tobacco farms were able to increase productivity by rolling their own hogsheads to ports of Baltimore, Annapolis and Elkridge.[6] Six acres around the Rowling house were surveyed by William Cromwell on 7 February 1743. The site was purchased by Caleb and Edward Dorsey and named "Calebs and Edwards Friendship".[7]

The banks of the Patapsco River had been unearthed to mine for iron stone, which resulted in the displaced sand and earth being dumped into the river, affecting its navigability. In 1753 a law was enacted to prevent the further filling in of the Patapsco River's shipping channel at Elkridge Landing and up to Baltimore.[8] Ships were unable to sail to Elkridge Landing after the first half of the 1700s.[9]

By 1763, 50 percent of Anne Arundel's tobacco production was processed at the landing totaling 1,695 hogsheads.[10] Christ Church Guilford would tax the tobacco to pay for the local sheriff and church expenses.[11]


On April 12, 1733 an act was passed by the Maryland General Assembly making Elkridge Landing the town of Jansen-Town in what was then the County of Ann-Arundel. At that time 40 lots were created on 30 acres of land purchased near or on the Patapasco River.[12][13]

Iron manufacturingEdit

Elkridge Furnace House at the Elkridge Furnace Complex, which first began with Caleb Dorsey's Forge and then the Ellicott brother's Avalon Iron Works.

Caleb Dorsey, an ironmaster aware of iron ore found in the Patapsco River valley, established Dorsey's Forge in 1761. It ran on water power from the river and made nails and horseshoes. During the American Revolutionary War he made cannons and bayonets. As of 1787 there were 9 or more slaves that worked his operation.[14]

In 1822 the business was purchased by Thomas, James and Benjamin Ellicott from Pennsylvania. It was first named Avalon Iron Works, but then became a nail factory and rolling mill. More than 100 people worked at the complex by the 1850s. The forge, factory and mill were destroyed in a flood in 1868. Two structures that remained are in the Patapsco Valley State Park.[14] By 1880, the town was described as "A sorry village on the Patapsco, which once hoped to be the rival of Baltimore."[15]


The town became more prosperous when the Washington Turnpike and the railroad traversed through the town, resulting in new residential and commercial construction.[9] During the American Civil War Union troops were deployed to protect both bridges.[16] In the 1930s when Route 1 skirted the city, many commercial buildings moved alongside the highway.[9]

Historic districtEdit

Historic Marker

An application was submitted in 2003 to make it a historic district and is now on the Inventory of Historic Properties with the Maryland Historical Trust. There are business and residential properties built between the 1820s and 1920s within the district. It is one of the oldest settlements in Howard County, Maryland. Elkridge Landing is significant for its historic iron and shipping industries, role in development of the railroads in the 19th century, architecture and its archaeological potential.[17]


In 2015, the Howard County Council approved a payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement for Riverwatch, a middle-income townhouse and apartment development built by the KB Companies in coordination with the Howard County Housing and Community Development on Furnace Avenue replacing a series of small historic single family homes in the neighborhood.[18][19][20][21][22][23]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Quakers were living in the Elkridge area about 1670 when they began meeting at the Elkridge Meetinghouse.[2]


  1. ^ Elkridge Landing Historic District. Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Elizabeth Janney. Elkridge. Arcadia Publishing; 8 July 2013. ISBN 978-0-7385-9927-4. p. 12.
  3. ^ Stein, Charles Francis (1972). Origin and History of Howard County Maryland (First ed.). Howard County Historical Society. p. 2. LCCN 70182516.
  4. ^ "Patasco Valley State Park". Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original on April 13, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  5. ^ John Martin Hammond (1914). Colonial mansions of Maryland and Delaware. J.B. Lippincott Company. p. 172.
  6. ^ Robert Schnepfe Diggs (1937). The early history of Elkridge Landing. p. 5.
  7. ^ Henry K Sharp. The Patapsco River Valey. p. 3.
  8. ^ Maryland Act of 1753 Chap. 27. Maryland State Archives. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Inventory of Historic Properties. Maryland Historical Trust. p. 3. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  10. ^ Howard's Roads to the Past. Howard County Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee, 2001. 2001. p. 5.
  11. ^ Howard's Roads to the Past. Howard County Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee, 2001. 2001. p. 81.
  12. ^ Bacon's Laws of Maryland. vol. 75. p. 419. (online version). Maryland State Archives. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  13. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". Elkridge Furnace Complex, Howard County. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-11-21.
  14. ^ a b Elizabeth Janney. Elkridge. Arcadia Publishing; 8 July 2013. ISBN 978-0-7385-9927-4. p. 16.
  15. ^ Latimer, E W. (June 1880). "Colonial Life in Maryland". The International Review: 569.
  16. ^ "LETTERS FROM THE ARMY.; FROM THE EIGHTH. THE MOVEMENT TO THE RELAY HOUSE. ELK RIDGE LANDING, ST. DENIS, 9 miles south of Baltimore,". The New York Times. 10 May 1861. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  17. ^ Inventory of Historic Properties. Maryland Historical Trust. p. 1. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  18. ^ "New Year, New Faces in HC Government". The Business Monthly. 4 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Howard County Housing Agenda" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  20. ^ "HO-973" (PDF). Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  21. ^ Yeager, Amanda (3 February 2015). "Council votes to approve land transfer for Route 1 homeless housing and resource center". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  22. ^ Yeager, Amanda. "In Elkridge, Riverwatch would set bar for future projects". The Baltimore Sun. No. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Rental Housing Works Application" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.

External linksEdit