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Sykesville, Maryland
Downtown Sykesville.JPG
Location of Sykesville, Maryland
Location of Sykesville, Maryland
Country United States
State Maryland
County Carroll
Incorporated August 1904
 • Total 1.59 sq mi (4.11 km2)
 • Land 1.58 sq mi (4.10 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
545 ft (166 m)
 • Total 4,316
 • Density 2,728.19/sq mi (1,053.03/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 410, 443, and 667
FIPS code 24-76550
GNIS feature ID 0591389

Sykesville is a small town in Carroll County, Maryland, United States. The town lies 20 miles (32 km) west of Baltimore and 40 miles (64 km) north of Washington D.C. The population was 4,436 at the 2010 census. named Sykesville 'Coolest Small Town in America' in June 2016.


The land on which Sykesville sits started out as part of the 3,000-acre (12 km2) Springfield Estate, owned by wealthy Baltimore shipbuilder William Patterson. In 1803, Patterson's daughter Elizabeth, married Napoléon Bonaparte's younger brother Jérôme, but when she arrived in Europe as Jérôme's bride, Napoléon refused to let Betsy Patterson Bonaparte set foot on land. Napoleon refused the marriage of the two, and would not let Elizabeth set foot on France's soil. He was determined that Jerome marry into royalty, and sent Betsy back home. Denied by Napoleon, she was never able to see her husband again, leaving her to raise their son alone in the United States. Upon the death of William in 1824, his son George Patterson inherited the estate. In 1825, George Patterson sold 1,000 acres (4.0 km2; 1.6 sq mi) of Springfield Estate to his friend and business associate, James Sykes.

A tract of land on the Howard County side of the Patapsco River contained an old saw and grist mill. In 1830 Sykes replaced it with a newer mill and constructed a five-story stone hotel, to take care of railroad personnel and the tourist trade. In 1831 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) extended its main line to "Horse Train Stop", since Sykesville had yet to be named. Other businesses moved into the area, including two general stores, new mills, churches and a post office. In 1832 the town managed to gain control of a barn across the Patapsco River, the dividing line between Carroll and Howard County, but the citizens were forced to return the barn under threat of federal troops.

Much of the town was destroyed by a flood in 1868, ending a water rights dispute between the Sykesville mill and the Elba Furnace when both were damaged. The town was rebuilt on the Carroll County side of the river.

The town was incorporated in 1904. A weekly newspaper, the Sykesville Herald, was founded in 1913 and published regularly until the 1980s.


Sykesville is located at 39°22′16″N 76°58′21″W / 39.37111°N 76.97250°W / 39.37111; -76.97250 (39.371020, -76.972630).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.58 square miles (4.09 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 565
1920 610 8.0%
1930 661 8.4%
1940 806 21.9%
1950 941 16.7%
1960 1,196 27.1%
1970 1,399 17.0%
1980 1,712 22.4%
1990 2,303 34.5%
2000 4,197 82.2%
2010 4,436 5.7%
2020 4,316 −2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 4,436 people, 1,409 households, and 995 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,807.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,084.0/km2). There were 1,474 housing units at an average density of 932.9 per square mile (360.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 83.3% White, 12.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.5% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population. Most Hispanics and Latinos in the town identify as White, with 2% of Sykesville's total population identifying as White Hispanics/Latinos. Non-Hispanics in Sykesville are predominantly White, with 81.3% of the town's total population being non-Hispanic whites. 11.9 of Sykesville is non-Hispanic African-American, less than 1% being Afro-Latino.

There were 1,409 households, of which 45.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.4% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.27.

The median age in the town was 37.3 years. 26.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 30.9% were from 25 to 44; 27.8% were from 45 to 64; and 7.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 54.6% male and 45.4% female.

Sites of interest

The Springfield Hospital Center mental institution is located to the east of the town.

The ex-Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station was designed by E. Francis Baldwin in the Queen Anne style and built in 1883. The station was the second stop from Baltimore on the original B&O main line. The B&O ended passenger service to Sykesville in 1949. It was the prototype for a well-known model railroad kit.

The Sykesville Schoolhouse Museum, at 518 Schoolhouse Road, served as a one-room schoolhouse for black children from 1904 to 1938. The building is currently being restored.

The Gate House Museum of History, at 7283 Cooper Drive, served as residence for many employees at Maryland's second hospital for the insane. The hospital opened in 1896 and the gatehouse opened in 1904.

Downtown Sykesville comprises the Sykesville Historic District. At two separate points in time, Union and Confederate Armies marched through the town center.

On the Howard County side - The Howard Lodge (ca. 1750) was the centerpiece of a 2,500 acre slave plantation built for the Dorsey family. The building was once home to Francis Scott Key Jr.

Notable people

  • Sykesville was the birthplace of Frank Brown, the 42nd Governor of Maryland, on August 8, 1846.
  • Christopher Emery, Chief Enterprise Architect of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and former White House Usher. Lived in the Howard Lodge as a child.
  • Leo Kanner, child psychiatrist and autism researcher, died there on April 3, 1981.
  • Andy Stickel, the bass player for the modern rock band 7 Blue Skies, grew up in Sykesville but moved to Florida at the age of 13. He attended Freedom Elementary School, Sykesville Middle School and Oklahoma Road Middle School.
  • Nan Agle, author of children's books, died at the age of 100 at her home in Sykesville, following a fall.
  • Doug Turnbull, a notable lacrosse player, died in Sykesville.
  • Brandon Copeland, a defensive end who currently plays for the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.
  • Kyle Snyder, a 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist at 97 kg, attended Sykesville Middle School.


2016-08-21 12 17 53 View north along Maryland State Route 32 (Sykesville Road) at Raincliffe Road in Sykesville, Carroll County, Maryland
MD 32 in Sykesville

The primary method of travel to and from Sykesville is by road, and the main highway serving the town is Maryland Route 32. From Sykesville, MD 32 continues northward to Westminster. In the opposite direction, MD 32 heads south, then curves east, eventually approaching Annapolis. En route, MD 32 interchanges with Interstate 70, Interstate 95 and Interstate 97. The current route of MD 32 through Sykesville is a newer bypass, with the original road now designated Maryland Route 851 through central Sykesville.

The Carroll Transit System runs the South Carroll TrailBlazer (Red Route), which links Sykesville to Eldersburg. The Owings Mills station of the Baltimore Metro SubwayLink in nearby Owings Mills in Baltimore County, is a 20-minute drive by car from Sykesville and provides subway access to downtown Baltimore.

See also

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