|Harford County, Maryland|
Location in the state of Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
527 sq mi (1,365 km²)
440 sq mi (1,140 km²)
86 sq mi (223 km²), 16.4%
497/sq mi (192/km²)
Harford County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland. In 2004, its population was estimated to be 233,340. Its county seat is Bel Air. Harford County forms part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.
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), illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert. Harford was the last Proprietary Governor of Maryland, but did not inherit his father's title because of his illegitimacy.
Havre de Grace, an incorporated city in Harford County, was once under consideration to be the capital of the United States rather than Washington. 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 been silted, one of the primary environmental issues of Harford County.
The county's past, present, and future population booms and development have created conflicts between farmers and developers/homeowners wishing to create subdevelopments. The county was one of the first in the country to implement a development envelope plan, in which new development is channeled into specific areas of the county.
Because the county sits at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay along the Susquehanna River, it plays a key rôle in controlling sediment and fertilizer runoff into the bay as well as fostering submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) regrowth. The county has had to balance the needs of land owners to practice agriculture and/or pave land (creating impervious surfaces) with effects of runoff into the bay.
Harford County has been burdened by soil contamination and groundwater contamination since the creation of Aberdeen Proving Ground. The military installation performs research for the U.S. Army and has released various chemical agents into soil and groundwater, including mustard gas and perchlorate. The bordering towns of Aberdeen and Edgewood have both been affected by this contamination. Aberdeen Proving Ground contains three superfund priority sites as of 2006. Groundwater contamination by MTBE, a mandatory gasoline additive, has also affected Fallston.
Law and governmentEdit
Harford County was granted a charter form of government in 1772.The Harford County Government includes the Harford County Public Library service and the Harford County Sheriff's Office, which now has precincts in Bel Air, Edgewood and Jarrettsville.
The Harford County Executive is David R. Craig (Republican). The County Council comprises a President (elected at-large) and 6 council members (elected from single-member districts). The current President is Billy Boniface.
The terrain rises in elevation and relief from south to north, with flat areas south of U.S. Route 40. The highest elevation, at 805 ft., is located near the Pennsylvania border in the county's northwestern corner. The lowest elevation is sea level along the Chesapeake Bay.
As of the census² of 2000, there were 218,590 people, 79,667 households, and 60,387 families residing in the county. The population density was 192/km² (496/sq mi). There were 83,146 housing units at an average density of 73/km² (189/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 86.77% White, 9.27% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.69% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. 1.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.5% were of German, 13.1% Irish, 9.8% Italian, 9.2% English, 8.1% "American" and 6.0% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.
By 2006 the population of Harford County had risen 10.4% to 241,402.
The 2005 report on race and ethnicity indicated the county's population was 82.8% non-Hispanic whites. The proportion of African-Americans in the county had risen to 11.5%. Hispanics were now 2.4% of the total population.
In 2000 there were 79,667 households out of which 38.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.90% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.20% were non-families. 19.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the county the population was spread out with 27.90% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 31.60% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 10.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $57,234, and the median income for a family was $63,868. Males had a median income of $43,612 versus $30,741 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,232. About 3.60% of families and 4.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.80% of those under age 18 and 6.70% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and townsEdit
Harford County contains the following incorporated municipalities:
- two cities:
- one town:
- Bel Air (incorporated 1872)
Unincorporated areas are also considered as towns by many people and listed in many collections of towns, but they lack local government. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define the communities they wish to recognize differently, and since they are not incorporated, their boundaries have no official status outside the organizations in question. The Census Bureau recognizes the following census-designated places in the county:
- Aberdeen Proving Ground
- Bel Air North
- Bel Air South
- Pleasant Hills
Other unincorporated communities include:
- Forest Hill
- White Hill
Though there are not any major league teams in the county, Harford County is home to a minor league baseball team, the Aberdeen IronBirds. The team was founded by former Baltimore Orioles player and hall of famer Cal Ripken, who was raised in Aberdeen. Harford County is also home to Kimmie Meissner, who lives in Bel Air. Meissner competed in figure skating in the 2006 Winter Olympics and won a gold medal in the 2006 World Figure Skating Championships in Calgary, Alberta.
Major sports facilities include:
- Ripken Stadium minor league baseball facility in Aberdeen, capacity of 6,200
- Athletic fields at Harford Community College hosted the independent league Aberdeen Arsenal baseball team for one season
- Al Cesky Field for the Bel Air High School sports teams, capacity of 3,700
- Soccer stadium at Harford Community College, capacity of 1,000
- Gymnasium at Harford Technical High School, capacity of 1,320
For an entire list of schools see List of Schools in Harford County
There are thirty-two elementary schools in Harford County. Homestead-Wakefield, William Paca/Old Post Road and Youth's Benefit Elementary schools are two-building campuses housing primary students (Kindergarten-2nd Grade) in one building and intermediate students (3rd Grade-5th Grade) in the other building.
There are currently 8 Middle Schools in Harford County, which all run from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., except North Harford Middle School which runs from 7:40 to 2:15.
There are currently ten high schools in Harford County, along with one technical high school.
- Aberdeen High School, located in Aberdeen; school runs from 7:35 a.m. to 2:10 p.m.
- Bel Air High School, located in Bel Air; school runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- C. Milton Wright High School, located outside of Bel Air; school runs from 7:40 a.m. to 2:10 p.m.
- Edgewood High School, located in Edgewood; school runs from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Fallston High School, located in Fallston; school runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- Havre de Grace High School, located in Havre de Grace; school runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- Joppatowne High School, located in Joppatowne; school runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- North Harford High School, located in Pylesville; school runs from 7:40 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- Patterson Mill High School, located outside of Bel Air; school runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- Restoration Academy Charter School; school runs from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Harford Technical High School, located in Churchville; school runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
The John Archer School is an alternative "pre-K to 12th-grade" school in Harford County, run under the auspices of the Harford County Public Schools. The John Carroll School is a private Catholic school in the county.
The school mascots are the Aberdeen Eagles, Bel Air Bobcats, C. Milton Wright Mustangs, Edgewood Rams, Fallston Cougars, Havre de Grace Warriors, Joppatowne Mariners, North Harford Hawks, Patterson Mill Huskies, Restoration Academy Lions and Harford Technical Cobras.
Three of the HCPS high schools also have or are preparing for magnet programs. Aberdeen High School hosts the Science and Math Academy, and Harford Technical High School is in itself a magnet school for academic and technical programs. Edgewood High School is in the beginning stages of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, in which the school will offer college-preparatory courses for its students, who will graduate with an internationally recognized high school diploma.
There are no 4-year universities in Harford County. Harford Community College, located in Churchville, offers 2-year Associates degrees and vocational programs.
The single largest employer in Harford County is Aberdeen Proving Ground, with over 11,000 civilian employees. Following the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission of 2005, approximately 5,300 jobs will be moved to Aberdeen Proving Ground within the following decade.
The newspaper of record is The Aegis.
The Conowingo Dam is on the eastern border of Harford County; the dam operations and offices are on the Harford County side of the river.
- Harford County government
- Harford County Public Library
- Harford County Public Schools
- About Aberdeen Proving Ground
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