Westminster, Maryland

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Westminster, Maryland
Main Street in Westminster, Maryland
Main Street in Westminster, Maryland
Official seal of Westminster, Maryland
"Where history meets tomorrow"[1]
Location in Maryland
Location in Maryland
Coordinates: 39°34′36″N 77°0′0″W / 39.57667°N 77.00000°W / 39.57667; -77.00000Coordinates: 39°34′36″N 77°0′0″W / 39.57667°N 77.00000°W / 39.57667; -77.00000
CountryUnited States
 • MayorMona Becker
 • Total6.65 sq mi (17.23 km2)
 • Land6.64 sq mi (17.20 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
764 ft (233 m)
 • Total20,126
 • Density3,030.57/sq mi (1,170.19/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)410, 443, and 667
FIPS code24-83100
GNIS feature ID0595080

Westminster is a city in northern Maryland, United States. It is the seat of Carroll County.[3] The city's population was 18,590 at the 2010 census.[4] Westminster is an outlying community within the Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA, which is part of a greater Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV CSA.


William Winchester (1706-1790) purchased approximately 167 acres of land called White's Level in 1754[5] which became known as the city of Winchester. The Maryland General Assembly later[when?] changed the name of the town to Westminster to avoid confusion with Winchester, the seat of nearby Frederick County, Virginia.[6][7][8]

On June 28, 1863, the cavalry skirmish known as Corbit's Charge was fought in the streets of Westminster, when two companies of Delaware cavalry attacked a much larger Confederate force under General J. E. B. Stuart, during the Gettysburg Campaign.

In April 1865, Joseph Shaw, newspaper editor, had his presses wrecked and his business destroyed, and was subsequently beaten and stabbed to death by four men in Westminster, allegedly because of an anti-Lincoln editorial that was published the week before the actual assassination. In a later trial at the Westminster Court House the four men were acquitted; the reason cited was "self-defense".

Since 1868, Westminster has held an annual Memorial Day parade, which is the longest continuously running Memorial Day parade in the country. [9]

Just north of Westminster is the farm at which Whittaker Chambers hid the so-called "Pumpkin Papers."

A historic marker states that Westminster was the first place in the nation to offer Rural Free Delivery postal service.

Westminster is the birthplace of Sargent Shriver (1915–2011), the Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States in 1972, and the first director of the Peace Corps.

On March 10, 2006, members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral of Matthew A. Snyder who had been killed in the Iraq War. Church members stood on city property adjoining St. John Catholic Church where the funeral took place. Snyder's father sued the church for violating his privacy. The United States Supreme Court in March 2011 ruled in Snyder v. Phelps that church members had a free speech right to picket.[10]

On June 26, 2015, the city of Westminster lit the Westminster Fiber Network, the first community-wide gigabit fiber to the premise network in the Mid-Atlantic region. The city partnered with Ting Inc., a subsidiary of Tucows, to light the network and provide gigabit services.


Westminster is located at 39°34′36″N 77°0′0″W / 39.57667°N 77.00000°W / 39.57667; -77.00000 (39.576551, −77.000120).[11] Westminster is approximately 36.5 miles (58.7 km) driving distance northwest of Baltimore and 37.5 miles (60.4 km) driving distance southwest of York, Pennsylvania.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.64 square miles (17.20 km2), of which 6.63 square miles (17.17 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.[12] Westminster has access to two water reservoirs at present, Liberty and Piney Run; the county has also proposed a Union Mills Reservoir and Gillis Falls Reservoir.


Westminster lies in the humid subtropical climate zone bordering on a humid continental climate, with hot and humid summers and cool winters with highly variable seasonal snowfall. Due to its elevation, distance from the Chesapeake Bay and urban heat island, temperatures in Westminster are often considerably lower than in Baltimore, especially at night.

Climate data for Westminster, Maryland (1981−2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 41.3
Average low °F (°C) 22.9
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.88
Average snowfall inches (cm) 12.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.4 8.1 9.9 10.6 11.9 9.8 8.8 8.4 7.8 7.2 8.9 8.9 108.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.0 1.9 1.2 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 1.1 7.6
Source: NOAA[13]

Tornado activity[edit]

Westminster's historical tornado activity is slightly above the Maryland state average and 38% greater than the overall U.S. average. On April 15, 1952, an F3 tornado (which has wind speeds of 158–206 mph) hit 15.5 miles from the city center, injuring four people and causing between $500,000 and $5,000,000 in damages. On July 19, 1996, an F3 tornado struck 5.5 miles away from the Westminster city center, injuring three people and causing $5 million in damages. On April 16, 2011, a tornado touched down around 8:00 pm EST.[14] Shortly after sunrise on February 7, 2020, an EF1 tornado crossed directly over downtown, heading parallel to Maryland 27 northward on the west side. This damaged siding and shingles on multiple structures and brought down several trees. Schools across much of the county took shelter due to the tornado warning.[15]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[16]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[17] of 2010, there were 18,590 people, 7,161 households, and 4,117 families living in the city. The population density was 2,803.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,082.6/km2). There were 7,684 housing units at an average density of 1,159.0 per square mile (447.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.0% White, 7.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 1.9% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.0% of the population. 40% of Latinos in Westminster were of Mexican descent, 16% were of Puerto Rican descent, and 3% were of Cuban descent. 60% of Westminster's Latino population identified as White, 4% identified as Afro-Latino, 6% identified as being of more than one race, and 29% identified as some other race. Non-Hispanics in Westminster were predominantly White; 88% of non-Hispanics were White and 7% were African-American.

There were 7,161 households, of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.5% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.5% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.12.

The median age in the city was 33.3 years. 22.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 15% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.6% were from 25 to 44; 21.9% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.5% male and 52.5% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 16,731 people, 6,420 households, and 3,762 families living in the city. The population density was 2,929.4 people per square mile (1,131.3/km2). There were 6,755 housing units at an average density of 1,182.7 per square mile (456.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.28% White, 5.49% African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.65% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.78% of the population. 28% of Westminster's residents were German, 15% Irish, 14% English, 6% Italian, 5% Polish, 2% French, and 2% Scottish. People of Dutch, Scotch-Irish, Greek, Welsh, Norwegian, Russian, Hungarian, Puerto Rican and Swedish descent each comprised 1% of the population.[19]

There were 6,420 households, out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.4% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.1% under the age of 18, 14.5% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,477, and the median income for a family was $50,879. Males had a median income of $37,186 versus $28,419 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,320. About 7.9% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.


Top employers[edit]

According to the City of Westminster,[20] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Carroll County Public Schools 3,757
2 McDaniel College 641
3 Carroll County 593
4 Carroll Lutheran Village 437
5 General Dynamics Robotics Systems 350
6 C.J. Miller 245
7 S.H. Tevis & Son 238
8 Truist Financial 174
9 PNC Financial Services 171
10 Landmark Community Newspapers 164

The five largest employers just outside Westminster in Carroll County are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Carroll Hospital Center 1,696
2 Random House 800
3 Carroll Community College 509
4 English American Tailoring 385
5 Knorr Brake 260

Arts and culture[edit]

Hashawha Tower[edit]

The Hashawha Tower is a windmill in Westminster. It stands at the Hashawha Environmental Center.[21]

Annual events[edit]

  • Carroll County Fair
  • Common Ground on the Hill
  • Maryland Wine Festival
  • Art in the Park
  • Main Street Mile
  • Peep Show
  • Wreath Festival


The Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) system enrolls over 28,000 students, which makes it the ninth largest school system in the state of Maryland. In Carroll County there are seven comprehensive high schools as well as two career and technology centers and an alternative school, The Gateway School. Students in grades 9 through 12 attend one of seven Carroll County high schools. Carroll County has 23 elementary schools and 9 middle schools. In the city of Westminster, there are two high schools, two middle schools and three elementary schools.

Westminster is home to McDaniel College, a small liberal-arts college; to the Civil Air Patrol's National Honor Guard Academy; and to Dream Flight School, an institution providing flight lessons at the local airport.


MD 140 and MD 97 run concurrently for part of their route through Westminster

The main method of travel to and from Westminster is by road and four primary highways serve the city. The most prominent of these is Maryland Route 140, which follows an east-southeast to west-northwest alignment across the area. To the southeast, MD 140 connects to Baltimore, while northwestward, it passes through Taneytown on its way to Emmitsburg. Maryland Route 97 is the next most important highway serving the city, providing the most direct route southward towards Washington, D.C. Two other primary highways, Maryland Route 27 and Maryland Route 31 provide connections to other towns in the area.

The Owings Mills station of the Baltimore Metro SubwayLink in nearby Owings Mills, Baltimore County, is a 20-minute drive by car from Westminster and provides subway access to downtown Baltimore. Due to longstanding opposition to mass transit from local residents and politicians, there is no inter-county bus or rail transit linking Westminster to nearby suburban communities of Baltimore County.[22] Due to a resolution passed by the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, the Carroll Transit System is prohibited from offering bus services into or out of the county.[23]

Notable people[edit]

Sister city[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Main St. Westminster, MD was used as a location for the filming of For Richer or Poorer, starring Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley in 1997.[27]


  1. ^ "City of Westminster, Maryland". City of Westminster, Maryland. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Westminster city, Maryland". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  5. ^ "Land Records of Frederick County, Liber E, folio 490". {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. ^ "History of William Winchester". Daughters of the American Revolution, William Winchester Chapter, Westminster, MD.
  7. ^ "The History of Westminster". Westminster MD.
  8. ^ windywtw@aol.com. "WINCHESTER-L Archives". RootsWeb. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  9. ^ "Volunteers celebrated at Mary Shellman Birthday Ice Cream Social". Carroll County Times. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "At Carroll funeral, a national protest".
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  13. ^ "Station Name: MD WESTMINSTER". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  14. ^ Stillman, Ian Livingston and Dan (April 16, 2011). "Tornado watch issued, runs until 9 p.m." The Washington Post.
  15. ^ "Westminster, Maryland (MD 21157, 21158) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders". www.city-data.com.
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "Westminster, MD, Ancestry & Family History". Epodunk.com. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  20. ^ "MD-Westminster, MD - Official Website - Official Website". www.westminstermd.gov.
  21. ^ "Carroll County Government - Department of Recreation and Parks". Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
  22. ^ "Carroll County Wants Nothing to Do with Mass Transit System that Could Connect it to Montgomery". Bethesda Magazine. October 22, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  23. ^ "Resolution shuns the implementation of a mass transit system". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  24. ^ "About". WhittakerChambers.org. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  25. ^ R Sergent Shriver, New York Times, January 19, 2011, Obituary Section
  26. ^ "Westminster Maryland-Paide, Estonia Partner City Program". City of Westminster, Maryland. January 15, 2004. Archived from the original on July 2, 2007. Retrieved July 7, 2007.
  27. ^ "Maryland Sets the Stage for Movie Industry". Retrieved November 13, 2022.

External links[edit]