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Baltimore County


Baltimore County

Not to be confused with Baltimore.
Baltimore County, Maryland

Template:Infobox U.S. county/map
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1659
Seat Towson
 • Total 682.03 sq mi (1,766 km2)
 • Land 598.59 sq mi (1,550 km2)
 • Water 83.44 sq mi (216 km2), 12.23%
 • (2010) 805,029
 • Density 1,345/sq mi (519.3/km²)
Congressional district Template:Infobox U.S. county/district, Template:Infobox U.S. county/district, Template:Infobox U.S. county/district
Time zone Template:Infobox U.S. county/timezone
Coordinates: 39°24′N 76°36′W / 39.400°N 76.600°W / 39.400; -76.600

Baltimore County is a county located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 805,029.[1] It is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Its county seat since 1854 has been Towson. The name of the county was derived from the barony of the Proprietor of the Maryland colony, Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, and the town of "Baltimore" in County Longford, Ireland. Baltimore County no longer includes the City of Baltimore (Port established - 1706, Town founded - 1729, became "county seat" of Baltimore County - 1767, Incorporated as City - 1797, Annexed territory from County on west, north and east sides in 1818 and 1888, Left County to become an independent city in 1851, Last Annexation of land from Baltimore County on west, north, and east; and south from Anne Arundel County in 1919).

Much of Baltimore County is suburban in character, straddling the border between the Piedmont plateau and, in the southern regions of the county, the Atlantic coastal plain. Northern Baltimore County is primarily rural, with a landscape of rolling hills and deciduous forests characteristic of the Southeastern mixed forests.

Among the county's major employers are MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center[2] in Rossville, the Social Security Administration, which has its national headquarters in Woodlawn, and Black & Decker in Towson.[3] During World War II, the Glenn L. Martin Company in Middle River had 53,000 employees manufacturing airplanes for the war effort and Bethlehem Steel had more than 30,000 workers at its sprawling Sparrows Point steel mill.[4] Of the 410,100 persons in the county's workforce as of 2009, 25% are employed in the fields of education, health, and human services, and 10% in retailing, with less than 1% in agriculture.[4] The county is also home to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Towson University.


The earliest known record of the county politically is January 12, 1659, when a writ was issued to its sheriff and is considered by historians to be its official year of "erection" (founding/establishment date) among the twenty-three counties of the State. Previously, Baltimore County was more known as a geographical entity than a political one, with its territorial limits consisting of the present day Baltimore City, Cecil, and Harford Counties, as well as parts of Carroll, Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard, and Kent Counties.

In 1674, a portion of northeastern Baltimore County, as well as a portion of northwestern Kent County, was split off to erect Cecil County. In 1748, a portion of western Baltimore County, as well as a portion of Prince George's County to the south, was split off to erect Frederick County. In 1773, Harford County to the east was split off from Baltimore County. In 1837, another part of western Baltimore County was combined with a part of eastern Frederick County to erect Carroll County. The separation of Baltimore County from Baltimore City which it surrounds on three sides (east, north and west) occurred on July 4, 1851.[5] Towson was voted in a referendum by the voting citizens as the new "county seat' on February 13, 1854. A new Baltimore County Courthouse was authorized to be built facing Chesapeake Avenue, between , to replace the previous courthouse and governmental offices in the City, which had been the official "county seat" since just before the American Revolution. Before that, the Baltimore County seat had been located in old Joppa, which is now extinct (but located northeast of the City near present-day "Joppatowne" off Harford Road). When with a bit of financial pressure and paying for the cost of a new courthouse for 300 pounds sterling, residents of old Baltimore Town were able to get the county seat transferred to their growing and bustling port town in 1767, with the first courthouse constructed in 1768 at a new "Courthouse Square", (today on North Calvert Street, between East Lexington and East Fayette Streets), later site of the present "Battle Monument Square" of 1815-1827, commemorating defenses of the city and county in War of 1812 with bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy fleet in the Patapsco River, the two-day stand-off in fortifications dug east of the city on Loudenschlager's Hill (now "Hampstead Hill" in Patterson Park) and the earlier Battle of North Point, on "Patapsco Neck" peninsula in southeastern county, commemorated since by Defenders' Day (a city, county and state official holiday) on September 12–14, 1814. A second city-county courthouse constructed in 1805 moved to the western side of the Square at North Calvert and East Lexington Streets. (In the future, after the City-County separation, a third, present courthouse for the increasingly complicated and more numerous judicial system for a growing metropolis, including the lower magistrates, commissioners, district and circuit courts, orphans (inheritances/wills) court, small claims court and the old Supreme Bench of Baltimore City was constructed on the entire western block of North Calvert, East Lexington, East Fayette and Saint Paul Streets in 1896 to 1900, later re-named in 1984 as the Clarence L. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse (for the Baltimorean and famous national civil rights leader, reputed to be "considered the 101st U.S. Senator").[5]

The County has a number of properties and sites of local, state and national historical interest on the "National Register of Historic Places" which is maintained by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior by the "Historic Sites Act" of August 1935.[6]

The first county seat of Baltimore County was known as Old Baltimore. It was located on the Bush River on land that in 1773 became part of Harford County. In 1674, the General Assembly passed "An Act for erecting [sic] a Court-house and Prison in each County within this Province." [7] The site of the court house and jail for Baltimore County was evidently Old Baltimore. We know this because in 1683 the General Assembly passed "An Act for Advacement of Trade" to "establish towns, ports, and places of trade, within the province." One of the towns established by the act in Baltimore County was "on Bush River, on Town Land, near the Court-House." [8] The court house on the Bush River referenced in the 1683 Act was in all likelihood the one created by the 1674 Act. Old Baltimore was in existence as early as 1674, but we don't know what if anything happened on the site prior to that year. The exact location of Old Baltimore was lost for years. It was certain that the location was somewhere on Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG), a U.S. Army facility. APG’s Cultural Resource Management Program took up the task of finding Old Baltimore. The firm of R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates (Goodwin) was contracted for the project. After Goodwin first performed historical and archival work, they coordinated their work with existing landscape features to locate the site of Old Baltimore. APG’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel went in with Goodwin to defuse any unexploded ordnance. The field team worked from fall 1997 through winter 1998. The team dug 420 test pits, and they uncovered several artifacts including a Charles II farthing coin, French and English gun flints, as well as glass, metal and other items. The team also uncovered a brick foundation that proved to be the remains of the tavern owned by colonist James Phillips, a prominent land holder in the area. Along with James Phillips, the other most prominent land holder in Old Baltimore was William Osbourne. Osbourne operated the ferry across the Bush River.[9] In his article Migrations of Baltimore Town, the Rev. George Armistead Leakin related a letter he received from Dr. George I. Hays. In that letter, Dr. Hays related an event in William Osborne’s life that his grandmother, born Sarah Osborne, and his great-aunt, Fanny Osborne shared with him. The account is of a raid by Susquehannocks who took William Osbourne’s oldest son. Osbourne and a party were unsuccessful in their attempt to rescue the boy. The boy was never seen by Osbourne again, and it is reported that he remained broken-hearted until his death.[10].,[11]

Law and government

Baltimore County has had a charter government since 1956. The government consists of a County Executive and a seven-member County Council. The County Executive and Councilmen are elected in years of gubernatorial elections, and the County Executive may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Historically, Baltimore County leans Democratic, but not as overwhelmingly as Baltimore City. In general, the northern portions of the county lean Republican, while the southern portion is more Democratic.

State's attorney

The Baltimore County State's Attorney is responsible for prosecuting the felony, misdemeanor and juvenile cases occurring in the county. The current State's Attorney is Scott Shellenberger, a Democrat. His predecessor was Sandra A. O'Connor, a Republican who served eight terms before retiring in 2006.

Law enforcement

The Baltimore County Police Department is responsible for policing the county. The current head of the department is Chief James W. Johnson.

The Baltimore County Sherriff's Department is responsible for security of the County Circuit Courts and courtrooms as well as process and warrant service. Sherriff's Deputies are sworn police officers and share the same powers of the Police Department. Currently, R. J. Fisher is the Baltimore County Sheriff.

The Maryland State Police (MSP); Terrence B. Sheridan, Superintendent [12] and Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MdTA); Marcus L. Brown, Chief [13] are responsible for law enforcement on Interstate highways and transportation facilities that traverse Baltimore County.

Fire Department

The Baltimore County Fire Department (B.Co.F.D.) [14] provides fire protection, emergency medical services and emergency rescue to residents of the county and surrounding areas, including Baltimore City, through mutual-aid pacts with those jurisdictions. The department consists of both paid and volunteer companies that provide services to overlapping territories. Currently, there are 25 career (paid) stations and 33 volunteer stations. There are more than 1,000 paid personnel and more than 2,000 volunteers. The department also conducts annual fire inspections on commercial properties, fire investigation and fire prevention education activities as well as water and tactical rescue in the region. John J. Hohman [15] is currently Chief of the Baltimore County Fire Department.

Fire Department Support

Central Alarmers (Station 155) is a private organization that provides fireground rehab support to firefighters (personal relief stations and refreshments) during large or prolonged response incidents in the central and eastern regions of the county.

County executives

The current county executive, sworn in on December 6, 2010, is Kevin B. Kamenetz. The County Executive oversees the executive branch of the County government that consists of a number of offices and departments. The executive branch is charged with implementing County law and overseeing the operation of the County government.

County council

The County Council adopts ordinances and resolutions, and has all of the County's legislative powers.

The current County Council as of December 6, 2010 includes 5 Democrats and 2 Republicans.

Baltimore County Council
District Name Party
  District 1 Tom Quirk Democrat
  District 2 Vicki Almond Democrat
  District 3 Todd Huff Republican
  District 4 Kenneth N. Oliver Democrat
  District 5 David S. Marks Republican
  District 6 Cathy Bevins Democrat
  District 7 John A. Olszewski, Sr. Democrat

Top employers

According to the County's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[16] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer Location # of Employees
1 Baltimore County Public Schools Towson 9,800
2 County of Baltimore Towson 8,888
3 Social Security Administration Woodlawn 4,400
4 Franklin Square Hospital Center White Marsh/Rossville 3,500
5 Greater Baltimore Medical Center Towson 3,331
6 Erickson Living Catonsville 3,100
7 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Woodlawn 2,968
8 SeverStal Sparrows Point 2,500
8 Towson University Towson 2,500
10 University of Maryland, Baltimore County Catonsville 2,028



Several major interstate highways run through the county, including I-95, I-83, I-195, I-795 and I-70; the latter has its eastern terminus in the county. The majority of the McKeldin Beltway, I-695, is contained within the county as well.


The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) operates three rail systems—one light rail, one rapid transit, and one commuter rail—in the Baltimore area; all three systems have stations in Baltimore County. The heavy-rail Metro Subway [17] runs northwest of the city to Owings Mills; the Light Rail [18] system runs north of Baltimore City to Hunt Valley and south of the city through Baltimore Highlands with some routes terminating at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport located in Linthicum (Anne Arundel County), Maryland. Commuter MARC Train service is available in the county at Halethorpe, St. Denis, and Martin State Airport stations.

The MTA's local [19] and regional [20] bus services also serve Baltimore County.


Both CSX Transportation and Amtrak mainlines run through the county. Former rail lines were the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad and the Northern Central Railway (part of the old Pennsylvania Railroad). The Ma&Pa and parts of the Northern Central were abandoned. The present-day Baltimore Light Rail uses the Northern Central right-of-way south of Cockeysville; starting slightly north of that, the right-of-way was converted into the popular Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 682.03 square miles (1,766.4 km2), of which 598.59 square miles (1,550.3 km2) (or 87.77%) is land and 83.44 square miles (216.1 km2) (or 12.23%) is water.[21] The larger portion of the terrain is undulating, with bold hills often rising to a height of 800 feet (240 m) above tide water.[22] The highest elevation is approximately 960 feet (290 m) above sea level, along the Pennsylvania state line near Steltz. The lowest elevation is sea level along the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

State protected area


The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is headquartered at Suite 1000 at 300 East Joppa Road in the Towson CDP.[23][24][25] The Maryland State Police is headquartered at 1201 Reisterstown Road in the Pikesville CDP.[26][27]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2012817,4551.5%
Population before 1860 includes town and (1797)
city of Baltimore. Population decline in 1890
and 1920 census figures reflect annexations by the
City of Baltimore.
U.S. Decennial Census[28]
2012 Estimate[29]


According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:


As of the census[30] of 2000, there were 754,292 people, 299,877 households, and 198,518 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,260 people per square mile (487/km²). There were 313,734 housing units at an average density of 524 per square mile (202/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 74.39% White, 20.10% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 3.17% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.62% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. 1.83% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.4% were of German, 10.8% Irish, 7.3% English, 7.0% Italian, 6.1% US or American and 5.4% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. There is also a large Jewish population that migrated from Park Heights into the communities of Pikesville, Owings Mills and Reisterstown, referred to by Jewish residents as "100,000 Jews in three zip codes". According to the North American Jewish Data Bank[31] as of 2011 Baltimore County is 7.5% Jewish with a Jewish population of around 60,000 people.

There were 299,877 households out of which 30.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.40% were married couples living together, 12.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.80% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.60% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 29.80% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,667, and the median income for a family was $59,998. Males had a median income of $41,048 versus $31,426 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,167. About 4.50% of families and 6.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.20% of those under age 18 and 6.50% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2010 Census the population of Baltimore County was 62.80% Non-Hispanic Whites, 26.05% Blacks, 0.33% Native American, 4.99% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.59% Some other race and 2.40% reporting more than one race. 4.19% of the Population was Hispanic.

Baltimore County's population history from the U.S. Census Bureau

The following is a population history for Baltimore County.[32] The ranking compares the population of Baltimore County to those of the other 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

Census year Population Rank
1900 90,755 2nd (after Balt. City)
1910 122,349 2nd
1920 74,817 2nd (Baltimore City annexed 46.5 square miles (120 km2) from the county in 1917)
1930 124,565 2nd
1940 155,825 2nd
1950 270,273 2nd
1960 492,428 2nd
1970 621,077 3rd (after Prince George's)
1980 655,615 2nd (Prince George's fewer)
1990 692,134 4th (Montgomery 2nd, Prince George's 3rd)
2000 754,292 3rd (Balt. City drops to 4th)
2010 805,029 3rd [5]
2012 817,455 Population estimate [33]

Of note:

  • Until 1950, only Baltimore City and County crossed the 100,000 population threshold.

Unincorporated communities (Census-designated places)

Baltimore County has no incorporated municipalities located entirely within its boundaries. The county contains many unincorporated communities which are listed in many collections of towns. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define these communities according to their own criteria. Unincorporated areas have no local government or defined boundaries, other than the following census-designated places recognized by the Census Bureau:

Other communities (non-Census-Designated Places)

Although not formally Census-Designated Places, these other communities are known locally and, in many cases, have their own post offices and are shown on roadmaps:


Top employers

According to the County's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[34] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Social Security Administration/CMS 14,948
2 Baltimore County Public Schools 14,608
3 Baltimore County 8,429
4 Franklin Square Hospital Center 3,500
5 Towson University 3,344
6 Greater Baltimore Medical Center 3,331
7 St. Joseph Medical Center 3,330
8 University of Maryland, Baltimore County 3,258
9 Erickson Living 3,070
10 The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital 2,380


Colleges and universities

The University System of Maryland maintains two universities in Baltimore County:

There are also two private colleges in Baltimore County:

Other schools having a campus in Baltimore County:

Public schools

All public schools in Baltimore County are operated by Baltimore County Public Schools, with the exception of the Imagine Me Charter School which opened August 2008.

Private schools

Baltimore County has a number of private schools at the K-12 grade levels. Among them are:

Family support services

General counseling, trauma-based therapy, comprehensive support for victims of domestic violence, and in-home assistance for the adult disabled, are offered to Baltimore County residents by Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland (FCS), a private nonprofit organization. Some services are offered without charge; others are offered on a sliding-fee scale based on income. In addition, there are other private organizations providing various social services.

Notable persons

See also


External links

  • Baltimore County Government
  • Baltimore County Public Library system
  • Baltimore Co. Public Schools
  • UMBC.
  • Baltimore County Timeline
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