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Maryland Counties
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Maryland Counties

There are twenty-four counties and county-equivalents in Maryland. Though an independent city rather than a county, the City of Baltimore is considered the equal of a county. The last new county formation in Maryland occurred when Garrett County was formed in 1872 from portions of Allegany County.

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Harford County, Maryland

Harford County Education, Geography, and HistoryHarford County, Maryland Courthouse

Harford County is a county in the state of Maryland. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 244,826. Its county seat is Bel Air.

Harford County is included in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Harford County Name

Henry Harford, illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Harford County History

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, DC. 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.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 527 square miles (1,360 km2), of which 437 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 90 square miles (230 km2) (17%) is water.

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.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Lancaster County, Pa.
  • East: Cecil County
  • Southeast: Chesapeake Bay
  • Southwest: Baltimore County
  • Northwest: York County, Pa.


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, nine middle schools, ten high schools and one charter school.

Private schools

  • Harford Christian School a Christian school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • The John Carroll School, a Catholic school for 9th through 12th grade.
    Trinity Lutheran School a Lutheran school for pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.
  • Harford Day School, a private school for Kindergarten through 8th grades.
  • Harford Friends School, a Quaker school for Kindergarten through 8th grades.
  • Saint Margaret School a Catholic school for pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.


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

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