Muirkirk, Maryland

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Muirkirk is located in Maryland
Location within the state of Maryland
Muirkirk is located in the United States
Muirkirk (the United States)
Coordinates: 39°03′42″N 76°53′07″W / 39.06167°N 76.88528°W / 39.06167; -76.88528Coordinates: 39°03′42″N 76°53′07″W / 39.06167°N 76.88528°W / 39.06167; -76.88528
Country United States of America
State Maryland
County Prince George's
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
GNIS feature ID597797

Muirkirk is an Unincorporated community in northern Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. in the central part of the state.[1]

It is located along U.S. 1 between Beltsville and Laurel. It has a stop on the MARC commuter rail (on the Camden line), and hosts a dinosaur park.


Muirkirk was the historic location of Muirkirk Furnace, from which the area takes its name. The ironworks were established before the American Civil War. After the conflict began, the US government hired a manager from the North, Charles Coffin, to ensure the works were kept under federal control.

Located along Old Muirkirk Road, near Muirkirk station and just east of the former furnace,[2] is the historic African-American community of Rossville, originally composed mostly of families of men who labored at the ironworks. It has existed for more than 100 years. In 1868 after the Civil War, six black men purchased property for a church and cemetery, forming the Queens Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church in the rural enclave colloquially referred to as "Swamp Poodle." Part of the property was already in use as a burial ground. They intended to use the church building, originally a small log structure, as a school for their children. This was the start of a postwar cohesive black community in which freedmen established a church independent of white supervision.[3] The Queen's Chapel church was rebuilt in the 1950s.[2]

Around 1885, the estate of landowner Mark Duvall, who owned considerable property in the Vansville area, provided for the sale of 28.5 acres (115,000 m2) just east of Queen's Chapel. The twelve lots made available were quickly settled by African Americans, many of whom worked at nearby Muirkirk Furnace. Augustus Ross, after whom the community was named, built one of the first houses.

The largest lot was purchased by Rebecca Lodge #6, Benevolent Sons and Daughters of Abraham, a black fraternal organization whose members established the historic Abraham Hall. The lodge hall functioned for years as the community school for black children, as the state had segregated facilities. In 1922 the black community raised matching funds and gained white school board members' approval to build a Rosenwald School to improve the educational facilities for black children. Historically black schools were underfunded.[4] This former school was more recently used as an American Legion post.[2]

Charles H. Stanley of Laurel sold 25 acres (100,000 m2) of land to blacks in Rossville, as documented with the Maryland Historical Trust.[5]

Historic sites[edit]

The following is a list of historic sites in Rossville, near Muirkirk, identified by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission:[4][6]

Site Name Image Location M-NCPPC Inventory Number Comment
1 Abraham Hall Abraham Hall Dec 08.JPG 7612 Old Muirkirk Rd. 62-023-07 Located at Rossville. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 2005-03-14
2 Thomas Matthews House 7700 Old Muirkirk Road 62-23-17 Located at Rossville.
3 Muirkirk School 7813 Muirkirk Road 62-23-20 Located at Rossville.
4 Queen's Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church Site and Cemetery 7410 Old Muirkirk Road 62-23-21 Located at Rossville.


Prince George's County Public Schools operates public schools serving Muirkirk.

During the era of legally-required racial segregation of schools, black students from Muirkirk attended Lakeland High School in College Park in the period 1928–1950;[7] Fairmont Heights High School, then near Fairmount Heights, replaced Lakeland High and served black students only from 1950 to 1964; around 1964, legally-required racial segregation of schools ended.[8]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Muirkirk, Maryland
  2. ^ a b c Chidester, Robert C. (c. 2003). "VI: Western Shore". A Historic Context for the Archaeology of Industrial Labor in the State of Maryland (Report). University of Maryland College Park Department of Anthropology Center for Heritage Resource Studies. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
  3. ^ "Queen's Chapel and Burial Grounds", Determination of Eligibility, Maryland Historical Trust, 13 Sep 2002, MNCPPC, accessed 17 Mar 2010
  4. ^ a b M-NCPPC African-American Heritage Survey, October 1996: Properties Within or Closely Associated With Historic Communities (Prince George's County, Maryland), 1996[permanent dead link].
  5. ^ Leonard, Kevin (November 17, 2016). "Who was Laurel's Charles Stanley?". History Matters. Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  6. ^ M-NCPPC Illustrated Inventory of Historic Sites (Prince George's County, Maryland), 2006 Archived 2008-07-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ African-American Historic and Cultural Resources in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, February 2012. p. 63 (document page 67). Retrieved on September 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Fairmont Heights High School History". Fairmont Heights High School. 2018-09-04. Retrieved 2018-09-04.