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definition - Harford_County,_Maryland

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Harford County, Maryland

Harford County, Maryland
Seal of Harford County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Harford County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the U.S. highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1773
Seat Bel Air
Largest city Aberdeen
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

526.72 sq mi (1,364 km²)
440.35 sq mi (1,141 km²)
86.37 sq mi (224 km²), 16.4%
 - (2010)
 - Density

556/sq mi (214.5/km²)
Website www.harfordcountymd.gov

Harford County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland. In 2010, its population was 244,826. Its county seat is Bel Air. Harford County forms part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.



Harford County was formed in 1773 from the eastern part of Baltimore County. It contains Tudor Hall, birthplace of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Harford County also hosted the signers of the Bush Declaration, a precursor document to the American Revolution.

The county was named for Henry Harford (ca. 1759-1834), the illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore. Henry Harford was born to Calvert's mistress, Hester Whelan, whose residence still stands as part of a private residence on Jarretsville Pike, in Phoenix, Maryland. Harford served as the last Proprietary Governor of Maryland but, because of his illegitimacy, did not inherit his father's title.

Havre de Grace, an incorporated city in Harford County, was once under consideration to be the capital of the United States rather than Washington, D.C.. It was favored for its strategic location at the top of the Chesapeake Bay; this location would facilitate trade while being secure in time of war. Today, the waterways around Havre de Grace have become adversely affected by silt runoff, which is one of the primary environmental issues of Harford County.

The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.[1]

  Environmental history

Harford County has been a hotbed of environmental issues in three major areas: land use, water pollution/urban runoff, and soil contamination/groundwater contamination.

The county's past, present, and future population booms and land development activities have created conflicts between farmers and developers/homeowners wishing to create subdivisions. The county was one of the first in the country to implement a development envelope plan, in which new development is channeled into specific areas of the county.

Because the county sits at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay along the Susquehanna River, it plays a key role in controlling sediment and fertilizer runoff into the bay as well as fostering submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) regrowth. The county has had to balance the needs of land owners to practice agriculture and/or pave land (creating impervious surfaces) with effects of runoff into the bay.

Harford County has been burdened by soil contamination and groundwater contamination since the creation of the Aberdeen Proving Ground. The military installation performs research for the U.S. Army and has released various chemical agents into soil and groundwater, including mustard gas and perchlorate. The bordering towns of Aberdeen, Edgewood and Joppatowne have been affected by this contamination.[2][3] Aberdeen Proving Ground contains three superfund priority sites as of 2006. Groundwater contamination by MTBE, a mandatory gasoline additive, has also affected Fallston.[4][5]

Harford County also faces controversy from residents living near its only municipal landfill in an area called Dublin. The landfill, approved to triple in size in 2007, is the subject of complaints by neighbors of operating violations, such as large areas of open trash and blown litter, leachate breaks which contaminate area residential wells and flow into Deer Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River, and increased health problems.

  Law and government

Harford County was granted a charter form of government in 1972. The Harford County Government includes the Harford County Public Library service and the Harford County Sheriff's Office, which now has precincts in Bel Air, Edgewood and Jarrettsville.

The Harford County Executive is David R. Craig (Republican). The County Council comprises a President (elected at-large) and 6 council members (elected from single-member districts). The current President is William "Billy" Boniface.


Harford County straddles the border between the rolling hills of the Piedmont Plateau and the flatlands of the Atlantic Coastal Plain along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The county's development is a mix of rural and suburban, with denser development in the larger towns of Aberdeen and Bel Air and along Route 40 and other major arteries leading out of Baltimore. The highest elevations are in the north and northwest of the county, reaching 805 ft. near the Pennsylvania border in the county's northwestern corner. The lowest elevation is sea level along the Chesapeake Bay.

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 526.72 square miles (1,364.2 km2), of which 440.35 square miles (1,140.5 km2) (or 83.60%) is land and 86.37 square miles (223.7 km2) (or 16.40%) is water.[6]

  Adjacent counties

  National protected area


Historical populations
of Harford County
Year Population
1790 14,976
1800 19,626
1810 21,258
1820 15,924
1830 16,319
1840 17,120
1850 19,356
1860 23,415
1870 22,605
1880 28,042
1890 28,993
Year Population
1900 28,269
1910 27,965
1920 29,291
1930 31,603
1940 35,060
1950 51,782
1960 76,722
1970 115,378
1980 145,930
1990 182,132
2000 218,590
2010 244,826


Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:


As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 218,590 people, 79,667 households, and 60,387 families residing in the county. The population density was 496 people per square mile (192/km²). There were 83,146 housing units at an average density of 189 per square mile (73/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 86.77% White, 9.27% African-American, 0.23% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.69% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. 1.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.5% were of German, 13.1% Irish, 9.8% Italian, 9.2% English, 8.1% "American" and 6.0% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.

By 2006 the population of Harford County had risen 10.4% to 241,402.[9]

The 2005 report on race and ethnicity indicated the county's population was 82.8% non-Hispanic whites. The proportion of African-Americans in the county had risen to 11.5%. Hispanics were now 2.4% of the total population.[9]

In 2000 there were 79,667 households out of which 38.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.90% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.20% were non-families. 19.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.80% 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 3.14.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.90% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 31.60% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 10.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $57,234, and the median income for a family was $63,868. Males had a median income of $43,612 versus $30,741 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,232. About 3.60% of families and 4.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.80% of those under age 18 and 6.70% of those age 65 or over.

  Cities and towns

Harford County contains the following incorporated municipalities:

Unincorporated areas are also considered as towns by many people and listed in many collections of towns, but they lack local government. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define the communities they wish to recognize differently, and since they are not incorporated, their boundaries have no official status outside the organizations in question. The Census Bureau recognizes the following census-designated places in the county:

  1. Aberdeen Proving Ground
  2. Bel Air North
  3. Bel Air South
  4. Edgewood
  5. Fallston
  6. Jarrettsville
  7. Joppatowne
  8. Perryman
  9. Pleasant Hills
  10. Riverside

Other unincorporated communities include:

  1. Abingdon
  2. Belcamp
  3. Cardiff
  4. Churchville
  5. Darlington
  6. Gunpowder
  7. Castleton
  8. Dublin
  9. Forest Hill
  10. Hickory[10]
  11. Level
  12. Norrisville
  13. Pylesville
  14. Street
  15. Whiteford
  16. White Hall


Though there are not any major league teams in the county, Harford County is home to a minor league baseball team, the Aberdeen IronBirds. The team was founded by former Baltimore Orioles player and hall of famer Cal Ripken, who was raised in Aberdeen. Harford County is also home to Kimmie Meissner, who lives in Bel Air. Meissner competed in figure skating in the 2006 Winter Olympics and won a gold medal in the 2006 World Figure Skating Championships in Calgary, Alberta.

Major sports facilities include:

  • Ripken Stadium minor league baseball facility in Aberdeen, capacity of 6,200
  • Brand new Bobcat Stadium with astroturf at the newly built Bel Air High School was finished in 2010. It is the largest high school stadium in the county


  Primary and Secondary Education

  Harford County Public Schools

For an entire list of schools, see Harford County Public Schools.

The Harford County Public Schools system is the public school system serving the residents of Harford County. It includes thirty-two elementary schools, eight middle schools, ten high schools, including one technical high school, a charter school, and an alternative education school.

  Private Schools

Harford Christian School is a private Christian school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.


There are no 4-year universities in Harford County. Harford Community College, located in Churchville, offers 2-year Associates degrees and vocational programs.


The single largest employer in Harford County is Aberdeen Proving Ground, with over 11,000 civilian employees. Following the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission of 2005, approximately 5,300 jobs will be moved to Aberdeen Proving Ground within the following decade.

The single largest private employer in the county is Klein's ShopRite of Maryland. ShopRite employs around 1,200 people in the county.

  Family Support Services

General counseling and trauma-based therapy, in-home assistance for the elderly and adult disabled, and other support programs for families and individuals are offered by Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland (FCS),[11][12] a private nonprofit organization with offices in Bel Air, Maryland. FCS also operates an adult day care center on the grounds of Harford County Community College.[13] Some services are offered without charge; others are offered on a sliding-fee scale based on income.


The newspaper of record is The Aegis.

The Conowingo Dam is on the eastern border of Harford County; the dam operations and offices are on the Harford County side of the river.

Many scenes from the films Tuck Everlasting and From Within were filmed in various places around Harford County.

Public transit is operated by county-owned Harford Transit.

In 2011 the Office of National Drug Control Policy deemed Harford County a designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.[14]

  See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html. 
  2. ^ U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Philadelphia, PA. "Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood Area Site) - Current Site Information." EPA Superfund Site ID No. MD2210020036. May 2008.
  3. ^ EPA. "Aberdeen Proving Ground (Michaelsville Landfill) - Current Site Information." EPA Superfund Site ID No. MD3210021355. May 2008.
  4. ^ Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Baltimore, MD. "Fact Sheet - Drinking Water Well Impact: Fallston Presbyterian Church/Fallston Pre-Kindergarten, 600 Fallston Road, Fallston, Maryland." 2004-08-27.
  5. ^ MDE. "Fact Sheet - Drinking Water Well Impact: Fallston Service Center, 602 Fallston Road, Fallston, Harford County, Maryland 21047." MDE Case No. 9-0816HA. 2004-12-01.
  6. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. http://www.census.gov/tiger/tms/gazetteer/county2k.txt. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  7. ^ U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Cambridge, MD. "Susquehanna River National Wildlife Refuge: Overview". http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index.cfm?id=51532. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ a b Harford County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  10. ^ "Hickory, Maryland". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:590454. 
  11. ^ http://www.fcsmd.org/
  12. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_and_Children%27s_Services_of_Central_Maryland
  13. ^ http://www.fcsmd.org/locations/harfordAdultDayCenters.htm
  14. ^ http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/06/20/8-counties-deemed-drug-trafficking-areas/UPI-42591308611325/

  External links

Coordinates: 39°32′N 76°18′W / 39.54°N 76.30°W / 39.54; -76.30



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