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St. Mary's County, MD


St. Mary's County, MD

Saint Mary's County (often abbreviated as St. Mary's County) is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of 2000, the population was 86,211, and more recent population estimates are closer to 100,000. Its county seat is Leonardtown. The name is in honor of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The county is part of the Southern Maryland region.

St. Mary's County is where Francis Scott Key, the author of a poem which became The Star Spangled Banner, and professional wrestler Scott Hall grew up. St. Mary's County was the birthplace of Dashiell Hammett, and Orlando "Tubby" Smith, head basketball coach at the University of Minnesota. The largest employer is Patuxent River Naval Air Station and its related aerospace contract firms. There are both Amish and Mennonite communities who follow traditional ways. Tobacco, once dominant crop, has declined in recent years. The Maryland International Raceway (Budd's Creek) attracts many auto racing enthusiasts. The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

The settlement of Lord Baltimore's Maryland began with the arrival of passengers from England at St. Clement's Island in the Potomac River in what is now southwestern St. Mary's County on March 25, 1634 (the anniversary of this landing being annually celebrated as Maryland Day). The passengers arrived in two vessels, the Ark and the Dove, which had set sail from the Isle of Wight on November 22, 1633. The county is also home to the first Catholic Mass celebrated in the original thirteen colonies.

St. Mary's County was the first county established in Maryland, in 1637, probably by an order of the Governor.

The county seat and state capital was St. Mary's City.

In 1649, Lord Baltimore, with the Maryland General Assembly, passed the Maryland Toleration Act, which provided religious freedom for any (Christian) sect, and which was the first law of its kind in the New World. There is a statue in St. Mary's City commemorating this event.

St. Mary's County is where Francis Scott Key, the author of a poem which became The Star Spangled Banner, and professional wrestler Scott Hall grew up. St. Mary's County was the birthplace of Dashiell Hammett, and Orlando "Tubby" Smith, head basketball coach at the University of Minnesota. The largest employer is Patuxent River Naval Air Station and its related aerospace contract firms. There are both Amish and Mennonite communities who follow traditional ways. Tobacco, once dominant crop, has declined in recent years. The Maryland International Raceway (Budd's Creek) attracts many auto racing enthusiasts.

The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Demographics

As of 2000, there were 86,211 people, 30,642 households, and 5,443 families residing in the county. The population density was 238 people per square mile (92/km²). There were 34,081 housing units at an average density of 36 persons/km² (94 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 81.57% White, 13.92% African American, 0.34% Native American, 1.80% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.61% from other races, and 1.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.00% of the population. 14.8% were of American, 13.9% German, 13.3% English and 12.1% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 30,642 households out of which 25.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.10% were married couples living together, 15.10% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 34.90% were non-families. 29.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.90% 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.

The median income for a household in the county was $54,706, and the median income for a family was $61,397. Males had a median income of $27,496 versus $23,035 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,662. 7.20% of the population and 5.20% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 28.40% are under the age of 18 and 19.10% are 65 or older.
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Climate

St. Mary's county lies within the Humid subtropical climate zone, surrounded on three sides by bodies of water, including the Potomac river and Chesapeake Bay. Summers are hot and humid, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Winters are mild to cool, with ample rainfall as well.
Average July High Temperature 87.4 °F
Average January Low Temperature 26.4 °F
Annual Precipitation 40.47 inches
Air Pollution Index 95% of National Average
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Piney Point Light The county has a total area of 764.5 square miles (1,980 km²), of which 361 square miles (935 km²) is land and 403 square miles (1,045 km²) (52.78%) is water. The county is largely bordered by water: the Patuxent River, the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, and the Wicomico River.

St. Mary's County has the oldest documented sheriff's office in Maryland and one of the oldest in the United States.In 1637 James Baldridge was appointed sheriff. Since 1776, sheriffs in St. Mary's County have been determined by election.

The county houses the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, which includes Naval Air Systems Command, which plays a significant role in the local economy. The Naval Air Station also has an annex at Webster Field in Saint Inigoes, MD.