Howard County, MD
Howard County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It is considered part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Its county seat is Ellicott City. The center of population of Maryland is located on the county line between Howard County and Anne Arundel County, in the unincorporated town of Jessup.
Howard County is frequently cited for its affluence, quality of life, and excellent schools. In 2006-2008 it was ranked the third wealthiest county by median household income in the United States by the U.S. Census Bureau. The main population center of Columbia/Ellicott City was named 2nd amongst Money magazine's 2010 survey of "America's Best Places to Live." Howard County's schools frequently rank first in Maryland as measured by standardized test scores and graduation rates. Due to the proximity of Howard County's population centers to Baltimore, the county has traditionally been considered a part of the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Recent development in the south of the county has led to some realignment towards the Washington, D.C. media and employment markets. The county is also home to Columbia, a major planned community of 100,000 founded by developer James Rouse in 1967.
In 1800, the the mean center of U.S. population as calculated by the US Census Bureau in what is now Howard County. By the splitting of Anne Arundel County in 1839, the area was designated the Howard District in honor of John Eager Howard, an officer in the American Revolutionary War and later the fifth Governor of Maryland. It had the same status as a county except for not being represented in the Maryland General Assembly. In 1851, it became an official county.
Howard County is located in the Piedmont Plateau region, with rolling hills making up most of the landscape. It is bounded on the north and northeast by the Patapsco River, on the southwest by the Patuxent River, and on the southeast by a land border with Anne Arundel County. Both the Patapsco and Patuxent run largely through publicly accessible parkland along the county borders. The Patuxent border includes the Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge reservoirs.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 253.55 square miles (656.7 km2), the smallest county in Maryland, of which 252.04 square miles (652.8 km2) (or 99.40%) is land and 1.51 square miles (3.9 km2) (or 0.60%) is water.
The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places. Howard County General Hospital, located in Columbia, is the county's main hospital. Howard County is the location of Healthy Howard, a program aimed at providing low-cost health care to some of its residents.
Howard County lies in the transition between the Humid subtropical climate zone and the Humid continental climate zone. The easternmost tip of the county has a true subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and cool, rainy winters. As one travels west in the county away from the Baltimore area, the winter temperatures get lower and snow is more common. Annual rainfall is about 44 inches throughout the county
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Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:
- 62.2% White
- 17.5% Black
- 0.3% Native American
- 14.4% Asian
- 0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
- 3.6% Two or more races
- 2.0% Other races
- 5.8% Hispanic or Latino (of any race)
As of the census of 2000, there were 247,842 people, 90,043 households, and 65,821 families residing in the county. The population density was 983 people per square mile (380/km²). There were 92,818 housing units at an average density of 368 per square mile (142/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 74.33% White, 14.42% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 7.68% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.11% from other races, and 2.19% from two or more races. 3.02% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.1% were of German, 11.0% Irish, 9.3% English, 6.6% Italian and 5.7% American ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 90,043 households out of which 40.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.50% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.90% were non-families. 20.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the county the population was spread out with 28.10% under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 34.40% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 7.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $101,003, and the median income for a family was $117,186 in 2009. The per capita income was $44,120. About 2.70% of families and 4.00% of the population were below the poverty line.
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Ellicott City Station
The Ellicott City Station is the oldest remaining passenger train station in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. At the time of its construction it was the terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line from Baltimore to Ellicott's Mills, Maryland and it incorporated features for the servicing of steam locomotives at the end of the 13 mile (21 km) run. The station was built in 1830 at the end of the Oliver Viaduct of local stone provided by one of the Ellicott's quarries. The two-story stone building is built against the viaduct. A gabled roof is topped by a wood ventilating cupola. The upper level of the station is at the level of the tracks on the viaduct. The Oliver Viaduct, which was damaged by Hurricane Agnes in 1972, has since been reconstructed. The building was designed to allow engines to be pulled in on the upper level so that they could be worked on from below. A turntable with a diameter of 50 feet (15 m) was fitted in 1863 to permit locomotives to be turned around. The turntable was filled in after the line was extended, but the granite foundations remain.
The station is significant as the terminus of the original B&O railroad. The B&O was conceived as a means of re-establishing Baltimore as a major terminus of inland commerce, a position the city had lost with the advent of the Erie Canal. The commencement of construction on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, originating in nearby rival Washington, D.C., gave impetus to the use of a railroad for topographically-challenged Baltimore. From Ellicott City the tracks reached Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in 1834, Cumberland, Maryland (the eventual terminus of the C&O Canal) by 1842, and Wheeling, West Virginia on the Ohio River in 1852.