The illustrations below were developed for "Mapping Cecil County History", a colorful poster depicting significant historic sites around the County. Illustrations were created by local artist - Geraldine McKeown. See Geraldine McKeown's web site.
Port Deposit | Rising Sun | Government System | County Seat
In the early 1700s when a road system was beginning to develop in this part of the country, towns grew at crossroads. Such is the case with Cecilton in beautiful southern Cecil County. Located between the Bohemia River and Sassafras River, the Cecilton area is home to several exquisite historic manor homes and colonial estates, and rich farmland still surrounds the town today. The town that was first called Cecil Town is now a mixture of rural and residential, with a few businesses in the small downtown district. They are currently developing an extensive area of recreational fields, and Cecilton is the county's southernmost incorporated town. 410-275-2692
In 1742 the colonial village became the first incorporated town in Cecil County, and briefly served as the County Seat. It is located where the North East River meets the Chesapeake Bay, and in its early days was an active shipping center. The old Post Road came through Charlestown, and brought many colonial travelers to its shores. However, when the road was improved and straightened, it bypassed the town. Shortly thereafter, the county seat was moved to Elkton. Although today Charlestown is peaceful and primarily residential, you'll also find marinas, a few businesses, several restored colonial structures, and a wharf that's quite a popular place to cast a line and catch a fish. 410-287-6173
"Hidden Treasure of the Chesapeake" - Once known as "The Village Of Bohemia", the town happened as a result of the C and D Canal. When the canal opened in 1829, and ship traffic increased, the town sprang up along its banks. As the century continued, Chesapeake City's quaint buildings were constructed. By 1839 the town was named, and in 1849 it became incorporated. Today, an arched bridge 135' above the water spans the canal and connects the north and south sides of town. The canal, now 450' wide is the busiest in the nation. Historic South Chesapeake City is one of the County's tourist destinations, with picturesque 19th century homes, shops, waterfront restaurants, a museum, and art galleries. 410-885-5298
Elkton is located on the colonial highway of America. Our forefathers navigated its waterways and traveled its roads when heading north to Philadelphia, or south to Virginia. Once known as Head of Elk, named by Captain John Smith, it sits at the northern headwaters of Chesapeake Bay. Elkton played a significant role in both the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Today, many of the town's beautiful colonial structures remain, yet they're surrounded by buildings that reflect an active business community. Office buildings, courthouses, a hospital, and retail establishments share space with history in Elkton, which has been the County Seat since 1787. 410-398-0970
The North East River played a significant role in the early years of the town. Mills were built along its shores, farms prospered, and local fishermen found the area to be rich in stock. Though the town was settled prior to 1700, it didn't become incorporated until 1850. One of its churches, St. Mary Anne's Episcopal Church dating back to the early 1700s, has one of the oldest graveyards in the state. Graves of Susquehannock Indians date back to the 1600s. Today the neighborly town is a tourist destination for visitors who like regional foods, antique and collectible shopping, and history. A few miles south of town is Elk Neck State Park, surrounded on three sides by water. 410-287-5801
The town on the shores of the Susquehanna River played a role in two of our Country's early wars. The ferry and Rodger's Tavern were frequented by troops and travelers heading north and south during the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, the area became an important staging area and camp for Union soldiers and supplies. (see the Civil War section for more information) George Washington was only one of the famous people who visited the town, which after two name changes became incorporated as Perryville in 1882. Highlights of the area today include Principio Furnace, Perry Point Veteran's Hospital, Rodger's Tavern, the Perryville Train Station, Prime Outlets - Perryville, and a beautiful waterfront park. 410-642-6066
Historic Port Deposit is nestled between granite cliffs and the banks of the Susquehanna River. The tiny village was once a place where men made fortunes in shipping and granite quarrying. Fishing was also a big industry with a plentiful supply of shad and rock fish. The entire town is now on the National Historic Register, and its architecture is reminiscent of its glory days in the 1800s. The waterfront which was once a port for arrival of arks and rafts loaded with sellable goods, now houses boat slips and an attractive condominium community. While revitalization efforts proceed, travelers come to town for river fishing, eateries, and a stroll down a unique and historic Main Street. Take a walk along the shore of the Susquehanna River as you tour this historic river town. 410-378-2121
In the 1700s a tavern at the center of town, the location where five wagon trails and many frontier travelers met, was named The Rising Sun. Travelers often spoke of meeting there. At that time, the town was mostly a cluster of log houses. In 1802, with the arrival of a post office, the town adopted the pleasant name of Rising Sun. It was originally part of the Nottingham Lots of Pennsylvania, land given by William Penn to the colonists. But when the Mason Dixon Line was established along the Pennsylvania and Maryland state border, Rising Sun became part of Cecil County. One of the town's most famous visitors was the Marquis de Lafayette. He and his army camped nearby on April 12, 1781. 410-658-5353
Because of its strategic location at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, it was once an important shipping and passenger transportation port. Known as Head Of Elk, its shoreline was also the location of the largest British landing of the Revolutionary War. There were more British soldiers than citizens in the entire County. The British returned to it's shores again during the War of 1812.
Elkton slowly grew into the most populated town in the county. It became the fourth location in Cecil to be named the County Seat. The first was located in Olde Town on the Sassafras, the second at Court House Point on the Elk River, and the third in Charlestown on the North East River. The locations changed because the County's population base changed, and the County Seat has remained in Elkton since 1787. By the 20th century, Elkton established itself as a popular marriage destination. No waiting period was necessary to obtain a license, so love struck couples flocked to the town to "tie the knot". Some famous people like baseball greats Babe Ruth and Willie Mays, actors Burt Lahr and Joan Fontaine, basketball star Charles Barkley, and former US Attorney General John and Martha Mitchell, to name a few, even said "I do" in the town.
Today, the County's largest and most populated town combines the past and present. Historic structures, municipal buildings, stores, parks, and industry dwell together in the town's eight square miles located at the Head of Elk. The County's only community hospital resides there as well. In our colonial days Elkton was strategically located for shipping. Now, because of its strategic location between the transportation corridors of Route 40 and Interstate 95, it continues to be an attractive location for industrial growth.