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Leonardtown, Maryland
Central Leonardtown
Central Leonardtown
Official seal of Leonardtown, Maryland
Seal
St. Mary's County Maryland Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Leonardtown Highlighted.svg
Country  United States
State  Maryland
County Flag of St. Mary's County, Maryland.png St. Mary's
Founded 1660 as Seymour Town
Incorporation 1858
Named for Benedict Leonard Calvert
Government
 • Type Incorporated town
Area
 • Total 3.88 sq mi (10.04 km2)
 • Land 3.81 sq mi (9.87 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
Elevation
85 ft (26 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 4,563
 • Density 1,197.64/sq mi (462.38/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
20650
Area code(s) 301, 240
FIPS code 24-46475
GNIS feature ID 0594790
Website http://leonardtown.somd.com

Leonardtown is a town in and the county seat of St. Mary's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 2,930 at the 2010 census. Leonardtown is perhaps most famous for the national oyster-shucking championship that is held annually at the St. Mary's County fairgrounds.

Historic Leonardtown includes both a large public high school and a public middle school Leonardtown Middle School as well as a Catholic high school and an elementary school Leonardtown Elementary School, offices of the county government, and St. Mary's Hospital which serves the healthcare needs of the county. The College of Southern Maryland maintains a growing satellite campus within city limits, including an aquatic center. An upscale home development located in the Breton Bay area is just outside town, notable for both its country club golf course and swimming pool.

Leonardtown's population has grown significantly since 1990 as a result of the town's proximity to Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the Washington metro area.

Geography

Leonardtown is located at 38°17′43″N 76°38′17″W / 38.29528°N 76.63806°W / 38.29528; -76.63806 (38.295332, -76.637939).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.25 square miles (8.42 km2), of which, 3.18 square miles (8.24 km2) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) is water.

History

Early history

Records indicate that by 1654, county court was conducted at the house of John Hammond in the area known as "Newtown" or "Newtowne Hundred". During the late 17th century, it appears that court was held at various homes throughout Newtown, and that it wasn't until 1708 that an official town with a designated courthouse was established. It was during this same year that Phillip Lynes, then Mayor of St. Mary's City, Maryland's Colonial Capital, designated fifty acres of land at the head of "Brittons Bay" to be divided into 100 lots. He further ordered that one lot be set aside for a county courthouse to be built at an expense not to exceed 12,000 pounds of tobacco. At this time, Newtown was promptly renamed Seymour Town in honor of Governor John Seymour. Nearly 20 years later, Seymour Town was renamed again to Leonard Town in honor of Benedict Leonard Calvert, who was Maryland's Governor during this period. In the decades that followed, Leonard Town became the place where local residents conducted their official business with the colony. Farm products were regularly shipped through the port.

LeonardtownSign
Maryland Historic Society's Leonardtown Marker

The 19th century

During the War of 1812, the British blockaded the Chesapeake Bay. 1,000 British Marines invaded the town. This crippled the Tidewater economy and subjected areas to repeated British plundering and destruction. By 1860, the Town had approximately 35 dwellings within these corporate limits. It was home to the County's newspaper, two hotels and several stores. During the American Civil War, a Union Naval contingent occupied Leonardtown, searching all houses for weapons and supplies intended for shipment across the Potomac River to Virginia as Southern Maryland and the town's sympathies lay with the Confederacy. Leonardtown served as a busy port and steamboat landing. Until the passing of the steamboat era, steamboats carried goods and passengers all over the Chesapeake Bay area well into the 20th century, and a floating theater docked each year at the port, providing entertainment. thumbnail

The 20th century to the present

Historic Leonardtown remains the only incorporated municipality in St. Mary's County with its own elected Mayor and Town Council. The Town is experiencing a renaissance of its downtown as witnessed by recent openings of several new restaurants and businesses, some of which are located in historic buildings. and residential units. Facilities for boating, kayaking and canoeing are also planned. The Naval Air Base located at Patuxent River has boosted the economy in Leonardtown largely. Many families have relocated to Leonardtown as a result of the base.

LeonardtownWarf
Entrance to the Leonardtown Wharf

St. Andrew's Church and Tudor Hall were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 568
1870 485 −14.6%
1880 465 −4.1%
1890 521 12.0%
1900 463 −11.1%
1910 526 13.6%
1920 557 5.9%
1930 697 25.1%
1940 668 −4.2%
1950 1,017 52.2%
1960 1,281 26.0%
1970 1,406 9.8%
1980 1,448 3.0%
1990 1,475 1.9%
2000 1,896 28.5%
2010 2,930 54.5%
2020 4,563 55.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,930 people, 1,067 households, and 614 families living in the town. The population density was 921.4 inhabitants per square mile (355.8/km2). There were 1,156 housing units at an average density of 363.5 per square mile (140.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 77.0% White, 14.9% African American, 0.9% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 1.2% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 3.6% of the population.

There were 1,067 households, of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.5% were non-families. 37.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.15.

The median age in the town was 40.8 years. 23.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.1% were from 25 to 44; 24.2% were from 45 to 64; and 19.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

Transportation

The primary method of travel to and from Leonardtown is by road, and three state highways serve the town directly. The most prominent of these is Maryland Route 5, which follows Point Lookout Road through Leonardtown. Heading north, MD 5 provides connections to U.S. Route 301 in Waldorf and Interstate 95/Interstate 495 (the Capital Beltway) near Washington, D.C. Heading south, MD 5 eventually reaches Point Lookout. The other two state highways serving the town directly are Maryland Route 245, which connects Leonardtown to Maryland Route 235 in Hollywood, and Maryland Route 243, which passes Compton before ending at Newtowne Neck State Park. Although not directly serving Leonardtown, MD 5 also has junctions with Maryland Route 4 and Maryland Route 234 just outside the town limits.

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