|Town of Elkton, Maryland|
|Nickname(s): "The Elopement capital of the East Coast"|
|• Total||8.61 sq mi (22.30 km2)|
|• Land||8.35 sq mi (21.63 km2)|
|• Water||0.26 sq mi (0.67 km2)|
|Elevation||30 ft (9 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||15,579|
|• Density||1,849.5/sq mi (714.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0590150|
The town of Elkton is the county seat of Cecil County, Maryland, United States. The population was 15,443 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Cecil County. It was formerly called Head of Elk because it is located at the head of navigation on the Elk River, which flows into the nearby Chesapeake Bay.
Elkton was once known as the "Gretna Green of the West" because of its popularity as a place for eloping couples to marry, until a state law was passed in 1938 requiring a 48-hour waiting period. To this day, there are several wedding chapels in the town.
Elkton is located at .(39.610016, −75.825883)
As of the census of 2010, there were 15,443 people, 5,580 households, and 3,673 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,849.5 inhabitants per square mile (714.1 /km2). There were 5,944 housing units at an average density of 711.9 per square mile (274.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 76.0% White, 15.1% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.0% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.9% of the population.
There were 5,580 households of which 40.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were married couples living together, 19.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.2% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.21.
The median age in the town was 32.8 years. 28% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 31% were from 25 to 44; 22.2% were from 45 to 64; and 9.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,893 people, 4,446 households, and 2,898 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,480.5 people per square mile (571.8/km²). There were 4,743 housing units at an average density of 590.4 per square mile (228.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 85.85% White, 9.64% African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.17% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 2.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.97% of the population.
There were 4,446 households out of which 37.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.7% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the town the population was spread out with 29.4% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 17.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $38,171, and the median income for a family was $44,348. Males had a median income of $36,495 versus $25,543 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,789. About 9.4% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.
Until 1787, when Elkton was incorporated, the town was formerly called Head of Elk, as it was the head of navigation of the Elk River. The town Head of Elk was founded by Swedish mariners and fisherman from Fort Casimir, who settled the area in 1694.
During the American Revolutionary War, the British army landed at Head of Elk before marching on Philadelphia in 1777. Aug. 25, 1777, Sir William Howe's Anglo-German army (13,000 British soldiers and 5,000 Germans) landed on the Elk River and marched 11 miles north to the Head of Elk, whence Howe soon advanced to the short and victorious campaign of the Brandywine, which resulted in the conquest of Philadelphia On March 8, 1781, the Marquis de Lafayette embarked his troops to attempt a capture of Benedict Arnold. Returning on April 9, he began his overland march to Virginia. George Washington and Rochambeau with their combined forces stopped in Elkton on September 6–7, 1781, while on their way to Yorktown. Elkton was incorporated in 1787. By 1880, the population was 1800.
When northern states began to pass more restrictive marriage laws in the early 20th century, Maryland did not. As a result, a number of Maryland towns near borders with other states became known as places to get married quickly and without many restrictions, or "Gretna Greens". Elkton, being the northeasternmost county seat in Maryland (and thus closer to Philadelphia, New York, and New England), was particularly popular. It was a notorious Gretna Green for years; in its heyday, in the 1920s and 1930s, it was "the elopement capital of the East Coast" and thousands of marriages were performed there each year. While some of the marriages obtained in Elkton were of celebrities or celebrities-to-be (Cornel Wilde, Joan Fontaine, Debbie Reynolds, Martha Raye, John and Martha Mitchell, Willie Mays, and Pat Robertson all got married in Elkton), the overall tawdry flavor grew to be too much for the state. A 48-hour waiting period was imposed in 1938, but Elkton continued to be a place to marry, and especially elope; it simply took longer. In time, Las Vegas became the new "American Gretna Green," although hundreds of people are still married in Elkton each year.
The crash of Pan Am Flight 214, which was struck by lightning, occurred near Elkton on December 8, 1963. The crash of Pan Am Flight 214 was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records (2005) as the "Worst Lightning Strike Death Toll."
Although in Maryland, Elkton is served by DART First State Route 65, which runs into Newark, Delaware, connecting with the Newark Rail Station and other DART routes. The buses run roughly once every hour and a half, Monday through Friday.
Cecil County operates "THE BUS" fixed route bus system consisting of two routes. The Glasgow Connection begins at 5:30 am and ends at 6:15 pm, Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:15 pm This connection travels between the Town of Elkton and People's Plaza in Glasgow, Delaware. The Perryville Connection begins at 6:00 am and ends at 6:30 pm This connection travels between Elkton, North East, Maryland, Perryville, Maryland, the MARC train and Perry Point Veteran's Medical Center. The county also operates the C.T. Cruiser, which is a countywide, curb-to-curb transit service for all ages, which must be scheduled in advance. The C.T. Cruiser operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, on a first come, first served basis.
- Robert Alexander, an American planter, lawyer, and Tory political leader during the American Revolution
- James Allison, Jr., (1772–1854), born in Elkton, United States Congressman
- Rev. John Andrews (clergyman) D.D.(1746–1813), born near head of the Elk River/ attended Head of Elk School, graduate, professor and provost of University of Pennsylvania. Founder of York College of Pennsylvania.
- John A. J. Creswell, United States Postmaster General
- Austin Lane Crothers, 46th Governor of Maryland.
- Martha Finley, an author of children's books in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Although she was not born in Elkton, she lived there for several years
- James Black Groome, 36th Governor of Maryland.
- Dwayne Henry, a former MLB Relief Pitcher.
- Bernard Purdie, American drummer and session musician who has worked with various well-known soul, rock, pop, and jazz musicians.
- Jeremy Rose, American jockey and 2005 ESPY award winner
- Michael Rudolph, United States Army officer, served as acting Adjutant General and acting Inspector General of the U.S. Army in 1793.
- Julian C. Smith, a United States Marine Corps general
- Larry Webster, Former NFL defensive tackle with Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets
- Harry Woolman, motorcycle daredevil, character actor, movie stuntman, and special effects performer.
- Paul Rabil, Professional Lacrosse Player and Champion, NCAA Lacrosse Champion
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Maryland: a new guide to the Old Line State. 1999. p.xiv.
- The Middle States: A Handbook for Travellers.4th ed edited by Moses Foster Sweetser.1881.p.387.
- Elkton Marker
- State v. Clay, 182 Md. 639, 642, 35 A.2d 821, 822–23 (1944).
- Berdan, Marshall S. (February 13, 2002), "Elkton, Marry-land", The Washington Post: C2
- Greenwald v. State, 221 Md. 235, 237–38, 155 A.2d 894, 896 (1959).
- Historic Marker Database, Elkton, Wedding Capital of the East.
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