Elkridge in Howard County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Founding and Early Commerce, 1733-1800
The cultivation of tobacco rapidly depletes the soil, and was overtaken by wheat and other grains by the late eighteenth century. Grain cultivation at Elkridge spawned other local industries such as millers, bakers, distillers, and shipping agents. The house at 5481 Levering Avenue once formed part of the Hockley Grist Mill complex, and is believed to be one of the oldest surviving dwellings in Howard County.
In 1755, Alexander Lawson, Edward Dorsey, and Caleb Dorsey, Jr. established the Elkridge Furnace, located approximately half a mile down from the Landing. Slave labor provided both the man power and skill needed to run the furnace.
During the second half of the eighteenth century, facilities for the production of finished goods began to appear around Elkridge. These rolling and slitting mills manufactured nails, nail rods, and sheet metal from bar iron. In addition, the Elkridge Furnace produced cannons and cannon balls during the American Revolution.
The silting of the Patapsco River resulted in the decline of shipping activity at Elkridge Landing during the late eighteenth century. Aware of the emerging problem, the Maryland Assembly, in 1753, passed a law prohibiting the dumping of sand or dirt into the river. Prior to this time, ships would often use sand as ballast, and this sand would frequently be discharged at the landing prior to loading new cargo. In addition, strip mining for iron ore along the banks of the river led to massive soil erosion into the river, and the increasing number of upstream dams, needed to provide water power to the mills, decreased the strength of the water flow at the Landing. Together, these factors caused the river's channel to fill with silt, and by the early 1800's the shipping industry at Elkridge was dead.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture • Colonial Era • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1702.
Location. 39° 12.879′ N, 76° 42.372′ W. Marker is in Elkridge, Maryland, in Howard County. Marker is at the intersection of Furnace Avenue and Riverwatch Avenue, on the right when traveling north on Furnace Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5655 Furnace Ave, Elkridge MD 21075, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Elkridge Landing (here, next to this marker); Herman F. Prehn (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Elkridge Furnace Inn (about 700 feet away); Elk Ridge Landing (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Elk Ridge Landing (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Rural Vacation Spot (approx. 0.6 miles away); Masterpiece of the Early B&O Railroad (approx. 0.6 miles away); During the Civil War (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elkridge.
Additional keywords. slavery, slave labor
Credits. This page was last revised on May 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 27, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 388 times since then and 137 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 27, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.