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Highland Beach, Maryland facts for kids

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Highland Beach
Douglass Summer House, December 2009
Douglass Summer House, December 2009
Location in Maryland
Location in Maryland
Highland Beach, Maryland is located in Maryland
Highland Beach, Maryland
Highland Beach, Maryland
Location in Maryland
Highland Beach, Maryland is located in the United States
Highland Beach, Maryland
Highland Beach, Maryland
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Maryland
County Anne Arundel
Founded 1893
Incorporated 1922
 • Total 0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2)
 • Land 0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)  14.29%
20 ft (6 m)
 • Total 118
 • Density 1,735.29/sq mi (665.58/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 410
FIPS code 24-38500
GNIS feature ID 0590467

Highland Beach is a town in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States. Per the 2020 census, the population was 118. The town was founded late in the 19th century by affluent African Americans from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, looking for a summer retreat on the Chesapeake Bay. The town's incorporated status gave it a unique standing in empowering it to maintain its own police force. Celebrities with homes there have included historian and author Alex Haley, actor and comedian Bill Cosby, and tennis champion Arthur Ashe. Street names in the town include Crummell, Dunbar, Henson, Augusta, Douglass, Langston, and Washington, which were chosen to honor leading African Americans.


Highland Beach was founded in the summer of 1893 by Charles Douglass (Frederick Douglass' son) and his wife Laura after they had been turned away from a restaurant at the nearby Bay Ridge resort because of their race [citation needed]. They bought a 40-acre (160,000 m2) tract on the Chesapeake Bay with 500 feet (150 m) of beachfront and turned it into a summer enclave for their family and friends. Their home, the Douglass Summer House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. It became a gathering place for upper-class blacks, including many of the well known personages of the age.

Among the residents and guests were Paul Robeson, D.C. municipal court judge Robert Terrell and his wife Dr. Mary Church Terrell, Robert Weaver, Harriet Tubman, W. E. B. Du Bois, and poets Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Charles Douglass’ father, the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass, visited and would have become a resident had he not died before the house that his son was building for him was completed.

When Highland Beach was incorporated in 1922 it became the first African-American municipality in Maryland. Although founded as a summer resort, it is now a town of year-round residents who choose not to permit commercial establishments. There are some sixty homes, many of them still owned and occupied by descendents of the original settlers. The residents are proud and protective of their town’s heritage, established over a century ago by people determined to overcome the prejudices of their post-Reconstruction times. However, as of the 2000 census, African-Americans make up less than 40 percent of the town's residents.

The history of Highland Beach is recounted in the book, The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South, by Andrew W. Kahrl.


Highland Beach is located at 38°55′55″N 76°27′59″W / 38.93194°N 76.46639°W / 38.93194; -76.46639 (38.931880, -76.466455).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2), of which, 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1940 9
1950 5 −44.4%
1960 5 0.0%
1970 6 20.0%
1980 8 33.3%
1990 102 1,175.0%
2000 109 6.9%
2010 96 −11.9%
2020 118 22.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
2010 2020

2020 census

Highland Beach town, Maryland – Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 19 36 19.79% 30.51%
Black or African American alone (NH) 68 75 70.83% 63.56%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 0 0 0.00% 0.00%
Asian alone (NH) 1 0 1.04% 0.00%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 0 0 0.00% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 0 0 0.00% 0.00%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 3 6 3.31% 5.08%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 5 1 5.21% 0.85%
Total 96 118 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 96 people, 46 households, and 27 families living in the town. The population density was 1,600.0 inhabitants per square mile (617.8/km2). There were 74 housing units at an average density of 1,233.3 per square mile (476.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 19.8% White, 70.8% African American, 1.0% Asian, 5.2% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.2% of the population.

There were 46 households, of which 19.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.3% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.56.

The median age in the town was 55.7 years. 10.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 13.6% were from 25 to 44; 39.6% were from 45 to 64; and 28.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.


2019-05-29 09 59 57 View northeast along Walnut Drive at the entrance to Highland Beach, Anne Arundel County, Maryland
The only entrance to Highland Beach, at the end of Bay Highlands Drive

The main method of transportation to and from Highland Beach is by road. However, no state highways serve the town, and the only road providing access is Bay Highlands Drive.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Highland Beach (Maryland) para niños

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