Maryland State Facts - Maryland History Firsts

Catch up on your state trivia with these Maryland history firsts and interesting fun facts about the state.

Official Name Maryland
Capital Annapolis
38.97165 N, 076.50303 W
Middle Atlantic
Constitution Ratified 1867
Statehood April 28, 1788
7th state
Number of Counties 24 Counties in Maryland
Largest County
(by population)
Montgomery County
495 sq. mi.

Maryland History Firsts & State Facts

  • 1683 - Oxford (founded 1683), gained its prominence in colonial days by being mandated in 1694 by Maryland legislation as the first and only port of entry on the eastern shore.
  • 1685 - William Nuthead started the first printing business in St. Mary's City in 1685. When he died, his wife Diana inherited the business. She was the first female licensed as a printer in the colonies.
  • 1694 - Annapolis, home of the US Naval Academy, has served as the state capital of Maryland since 1694 and is one of the oldest settlements in Maryland
  • 1696 - King Williams School opened in 1696 it was the first school in the United States
  • 1706 - Crosse and Blackwell, the world's first food manufacturer, establishes first food manufacturing plant in United States. -MC6292 Crosse and Blackwell for Byrd's expedition, 1928.
  • The Maryland Gazette founded in 1727 is the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States.
  • 1763 - Mason-Dixon Line, named after the British surveyors who mapped it between 1763 and 1767, marks the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania.
  • 1774 -
    • During revolutionary times Rockville was known as Hungerford's Tavern the name of its most familiar landmark. One of the first calls to freedom from British rule was heard at the tavern in 1774.
    • William Godard establishes first Post Office system in United States. -MC3025 Baltimore's first Post Office.
  • 1776 - Hoffman's Mill is established as first paper mill in United States, and supplies most of the paper for the currency authorized by the Continental Congress. -PP79, Box 7, Hoffman Mills.
  • 1778 - Count Pulaski of Poland establishes the first independent corps in the Revolutionary War. -VF - Baltimore - Monuments and Memorials - Pulaski Monument.
  • 1784 -
    • The Methodist Church of America was formally organized in 1784 at Perry Hall.
    • On June 24, 1784, from Baltimore, 13-year-old Edward Warren flew in the first successful manned balloon launch in the United States
  • 1789 -
    • First church conference of United Brethren in United States is held in Otterbein Church. -PP106.14 Otterbein Church.
    • Father John Carroll is elected first Bishop of Roman Catholic Church in United States. -Z24.1286 - Medium Prints - John Carroll - mezzotint.
    • Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, founded in 1789 by the society of Jesuits, is the oldest Catholic secondary school in the United States.
  • 1792 -
    • French Consule Chevalier d'Anmour dedicates the first memorial in New World erected to Columbus. -VF - Baltimore - Monuments and Memorials - Columbus Monument (original site).
    • The Baltimore Water Company, the first water company in the United States, was chartered in 1792.
  • 1800 - Alex Brown establishes first investment bank in United States -135 East Baltimore St. (Baltimore, Md.).
  • 1803 - Thomas Moore of Brookville, invents the refrigerator and also coins the term. -MP3M826E Thomas Moore Refrigerator.
  • 1804 - First stationers in United States is established by Lucas Brothers. -VF- Baltimore - Stores and Business - Lucas Brothers (pre-1904).
  • 1808 - First American-born saint and first parochial school system in United States - Mother Elizabeth Seton. -Z24.1945 - Mother Seton (1771-1821) - Small Prints Collection - W. E. Tucker, Philadelphia, 1840 - Stipple Engraving.
  • 1812 - Mary Pickersgill designed the flag that flew over Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812.
  • 1813 - On the morning of August 10, 1813 residents of Saint Michaels having been forewarned of a British attack hoisted lanterns to the masts of ships and in the tops of the trees. The height of light caused cannons to overshoot the town. This first known blackout was effective and only one house was struck and is now known as the "Cannonball House." The town has been known as the town that fooled the British since this historic event.
  • 1814 -
    • Peale Museum becomes the first building in the Western Hemisphere used as a public museum. -Baltimore City directory, 1824.
    • Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner"after seeing the flag still waving during a battle in 1814.
  • 1815 - Work begins on the Battle Monument, the first war memorial in the United States. -H173 Battle Monument.
  • 1815 -
    • Samuel Kirk Co. is founded as the first silverware makers in United States. -PE B-6, Ka-Ki kirk receipt.
    • Work begins on the first architectural monument erected to George Washington. -Lottery, Washington Monument.
  • 1816 - Rembrandt Peale becomes first manufacturer of gas in United States. -Baltimore City directory, 1824, detail.
  • 1818 - America's national anthem was written by Francis Scott Key a Maryland lawyer. It is believed Key wrote the anthem on September 14, 1818 while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.
  • 1819 - Thomas Wildey founds the first Odd Fellows Lodge in the United States in Fells Point. -Baltimore City directory, 1824, detail.
  • 1821 - First Roman Catholic Cathedral is established in the United States, named for Rev. John Carroll. -H174 Cathedral.
  • 1827 - The Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road creates first public carrier railway in United States. -VF Railroads, B&O RR Grasshopper engine.
  • 1828 - In 1828 St. Francis Academy was the first dental school in the world. This became the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1839.
  • 1830 -
    • In 1830 the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company built the first railroad station in Baltimore.
    • The Peter Cooper becomes the first passenger train in United States, operating from Baltimore to Ellicot Mills. -MB1207 Tom Thumb.
  • 1835 - The Thomas Viaduct in Relay was the longest bridge in the United States on completion in 1835 and is still in use.
  • 1839 - Baltimore College of Dental Surgery becomes the world's first dental college. -PP106.25, Dental College.
  • 1843 - Baltimore and Ohio Railroad institutes the first dining cars on a railroad. -PE L-1 A-B B&O Menu, 1927b.
  • 1844 -
    • Samuel F.B. Morse reportedly received the first telegraph message in Bladensburg, in 1844, before his famous "What Hath God Wrought" message between Baltimore and Washington. His telegraph wire had been strung along the railroad right of way. Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University, lived in Bladensburg and is said to have invented the telegraph pole.
    • Eastern High School and Western High School are established as the first publicly supported high schools for girls. -Z24.80, PP106.36 - Eastern Female High School - Aisquith near Orleans - 1864.
    • Samuel Morse creates first telegraph line in United States, extending from Baltimore to Washington. -PE B-7 M-MAQ Telegram, 1859.
  • 1845 - The United States Naval Academy was founded on October 10, 1845 at Annapolis.
  • 1850 - Constructed circa 1850 an acorn-shaped gazebo can be found in Acorn Park in Silver Spring. The park is all that remains of Francis Preston Blair's estate.
  • 1851 - Jacob Fussell creates first commercial ice cream factory in United States. -Library Vertical File - Ice Cream - Jacob Fussell.
  • In 1856 Charles Benedict Calvert created the first agricultural research college in the United States. The Maryland Agricultural College became the University of Maryland at College Park
  • 1859 - First YMCA erected in United States, on Pierce and Schroeder Streets in Baltimore. -CB857 - YMCA Union Festival at Maryland Institute, 1859.
  • 1866 - George Peabody establishes first free public non-circulating library. -Z24.897 - Peabody Library - Peabody Institute, ca.1908 - PP71.20.
  • 1873 - College of Notre Dame of Maryland is established as first Roman Catholic college for women in United States. -MLD 108.B5C2 1942 Notre Dame Damozel.
  • 1875 - First monument in United States to Edgar Allan Poe is dedicated in Westminster Presbyterian Church, at 515 Fayette Street. -Z24.2069 - MD1988 - Baltimore, MD - Unveiling and Dedication of the Monument to Edgar Allan Poe, Wednesday, November 17, (1875), Westminster Churchyard.
  • 1876 - Maryland State Great Seal is adopted
  • 1885 - First commercially operated electric car in America.
  • 1891 - Johns Hopkins establishes first medical school of genuine university type. -Z24.95 - Baltimore, Md. - Hospitals - Johns Hopkins Hospital - [ca. 1890].
  • 1892 - Wilbert Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles becomes the first player to to hit seven-for-seven in a nine inning major league game. -Z24.914 - Baltimore Baseball Club - "Champions of 1895".
  • 1893 - Baltimore was home to the nation's first umbrella factory, the first coal-burning steam engine in 1830, and elevated electric railway in 1893.
  • 1894 - Dr. William S. Halstead of Johns Hopkins becomes first person to use rubber gloves while operating. -Z24.414 - Johns Hopkins Hospital - 1904 - Operating Room.
  • 1901 - Dr. Florence Rena Sabin of Johns Hopkins becomes first woman professor at a US medical school. -R154.S115B55 Florence Sabin.
  • 1902 - Maryland was the first state to enact Workmen's compensation laws in 1902.
  • 1904 - Maryland State Flag is adopted
  • 1918 - Maryland State Flower the Black-eyed Susan is adopted
  • 1921 - Eubie Blake's Shuffle Along is the first show to bring jazz dancing to Broadway. -Z24.1353 - Scene from Eubie Blake's "Shuffle Along".
  • 1939 - Maryland State Song, "Maryland, My Maryland," words by James Ryder Randall is adopted
  • 1941 -
    • The Patrick Henry built by the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard becomes the first Liberty ship.-MC2179 Launching SS Patrick Henry.
    • Maryland State Tree the White Oak adopted
  • 1945 - Drs. Helen Taussig and Alfred Blalock perform the first neonatal surgical treatment for malformations of the heart ("blue baby operation"), at Johns Hopkins. -B771A Dr. Helen Taussig, 1946.
  • 1947 - Maryland State Bird the Baltimore Oriole adopted
  • 1948 - Johns Hopkins airs first weekly educational series affiliated with a university. -MC2179 Launching SS Patrick Henry.
  • 1949 - Since May 30th, 1949 the United States flag has flown continuously over the monument marking the site of Francis Scott Key's birthplace. The flag flies at Terra Rubra Farm, Carroll County, Keymar, Maryland as mandated by a Joint Resolution of Congress
  • 1950 - Friendship International Airport - now Baltimore/Washington International Airport - began operations on June 24. 1950.
  • 1955 - Glenn L. Martin establishes first non-academic aerospace institute for pure scientific research. -G.L. Martin.
  • 1961 - The National Institute of Standards and Technology gave Gaithersburg the designation Science Capital of the United States when the Bureau moved to the area in 1961.
  • 1962 - Maryland State Sport, Jousting ( Maryland Jousting Tournament Association ) is adopted
  • 1964 - Maryland State Dog the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is adopted
  • 1965 - Maryland State Fish the Rockfish, also called Striped Bass is adopted
  • 1969 - Channel 67 broadcast the state's first public television programs on October 5, 1969.
  • 1973 - Maryland State Insect the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly adopted
  • 1975 - On September 14, 1975, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton of Emmitsburg was canonized, becoming the first native-born American to be so honored. Saint Elizabeth Ann formed the religious community the Sisters of Charity.
  • 1978 -
  • 1982 - The town of Garrett Park declared the first nuclear free zone in the United States in 1982, thus affirming a tradition of peacefulness that began back in 1898 when it became illegal to harm any tree or songbird within the town limits.
  • 1985 - Maryland State Boat the Skipjack is adopted
  • 1989 - Maryland State Crustacean, the Blue Crab isadopted
  • 1994 -
  • 1998 -
  • 2001 - Maryland State Cat,the Calico Cat is adopted
  • 2003 - Maryland State Horse, the Thoroughbred Horse is adopted
  • 2004 -
  • 2008 -

More Maryland History Firsts & State Facts

  • The USS Constellation docked in Baltimore is the last ship to survive from the Civil War.
  • The Carrollton Viaduct in Baltimore was named in honor of Charles Carroll of Carrollton and is the oldest railroad bridge still in use
  • The 1,200-foot Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is the second longest continuous truss bridge in the nation.
  • Baltimore is named after Cecil Calvert who received the Maryland Colony from King Charles I. His title was "Lord Baltimore."
  • The marshes of the Chesapeake Bay area, which lies in the Atlantic Flyway, harbor numerous migratory and resident waterfowl.
  • The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is considered a masterpiece and one of the finest 19th century buildings in the world. The basilica is the first cathedral in the United States. Baltimore represents the first Roman Catholic diocese.
  • Fort Meade near Laurel became a base because a train engineer delivering soldiers to Meade knew only one Meade, the one in Maryland. He was not aware of Fort Meade, Florida. The confusion happened so often a second base was built in Maryland in an attempt to avoid the confusion.
  • The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use.
  • The first dental school in the United States opened at the University of Maryland.
  • Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, was born in Baltimore and attended Saint Mary's Industrial School.
  • Other Major League Ball player besides "The Babe" born in Maryland include Cal Ripken, Jr., Billy Ripken, Lefty Grove, Frank (Home Run) Baker, Harold Baines, Al Kaline, Denny Neagle, and Jimmie FoMaryland.
  • Tilghman Island is home to the Skipjacks, the only commercial sailing fleet in North America.
  • The first dental school in the United States opened at the University of Maryland.
  • The National Aquarium is located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
  • The 1,200 foot Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is the second longest continuous truss bridge in the nation.
  • The 4.03 mile William Preston Lane Memorial (The Bay Bridge), joins the western part of Maryland to the eastern shore and crosses the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Annapolis is known as the sailing capital of the world.
  • Located in the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Island is Maryland's only inhabited off-shore island.
  • The highest point in Maryland is 3,360 feet above sea level on Backbone Mountain in Garrett County. The absolute lowest point in Maryland is a depression, often called Bloody Point Hole, 174 feet below sea level. The area is located approximately 1 mile west-southwest of the southern tip of Kent Island in Queen Anne's County.
  • Chincoteague's are famous ponies from Assateague Island.
  • Dredging and tonging are methods for harvesting oysters.
  • Maryland forests cover approximately 2.7 million acres, or 43% of the states land surface. Oak and hickory are the dominant hardwood or deciduous forest type, making up 60% of forested areas. Loblolly pine is the most prevalent softwood and is the predominant forest wood on the Eastern Shore.
  • Greenbelt was the first community in the United States built as a planned city. Greenbelt was an experiment in both the physical and social planning.
  • The Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace is the oldest continuously operated lighthouse in the State of Maryland.
  • Havre de Grace is known as the decoy capitol of the world.
  • Mount Airy is unique because two counties, Carroll and Frederick, divide it.
  • New Market is known as Maryland's antique capital.
  • Swallow Falls State Park near Oakland showcases Muddy Creek Falls. At 63 feet it is the largest waterfall in Maryland.
  • Maryland gave up some of it's land to form Washington D.C.
  • The Maryland Renaissance Festival is held from August and October in Crownsville.
  • Maryland is a prominent producer and processor of seafood and a national leader in the production of blue crabs and soft clams.
  • The Thrasher Carriage Museum in Frostburg houses a collection of early 19th- and 20th-century horse drawn conveyances. Formal closed carriages, milk wagons, open sleighs, funeral wagons, dog carts, and President Roosevelt's inaugural carriage are among the approximately 50 vehicles featured.
  • Sixteen of the 23 Maryland counties border on tidal water. The combined length of tidal shoreline, including islands, is 4,431 miles.
  • The Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge in Savage is made of both cast iron and wrought iron. It is the only open railroad bridge of its type anywhere in the world.
  • Clara Barton National Historic Site commemorates the life of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. The house in Glen Echo served as her home and headquarters for the American Red Cross and a warehouse for disaster relief supplies.
  • Maryland has forty-seven operational State parks, including 7 parks with waterfront areas, covering 90,239 acres; 15 State-owned lakes and ponds open to public fishing; 9 State forests and portions of 15 State parks open to public hunting; 36 wildlife management areas, covering 88,348 acres, open to public hunting; 6 natural environment areas containing 7,676 acres.
  • Annapolis was known as the Athens of America during the seventeenth century and once served as the capital of the United States.
  • The Community Bridge mural project in Frederick transformed a plain concrete bridge into the stunning illusion of an old stone bridge. The entire structure was painted by hand by an artist and his assistants, using advanced trompe l'oeil ("deceive the eye") technique.
  • Fort McHenry in Baltimore inspired the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
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