Elkton is a town in and the county seat of Cecil County, Maryland, United States. The population was 15,443 at the 2010 census. It was formerly called Head of Elk because it sits at the head of navigation on the Elk River, which flows into the nearby Chesapeake Bay.
Elkton is located on the colonial highway of America. Our forefathers navigated its waterways and traveled its roads when heading north to Philadelphia, or south to Virginia. Once known as Head of Elk, named by Captain John Smith, it sits at the northern headwaters of Chesapeake Bay. Elkton played a significant role in both the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Today, many of the town’s beautiful colonial structures remain, yet they’re surrounded by buildings that reflect an active business community. Office buildings, courthouses, a hospital, and retail establishments share space with history in Elkton, which has been the County Seat since 1787.
The town saw several actions during the American Revolutionary War. On Aug. 25, 1777, Sir William Howe‘s Anglo-German army (13,000 British soldiers and 5,000 Germans) landed on the Elk River and marched 11 miles north to Head of Elk. Howe soon advanced to the short and victorious campaign of the Brandywine, and thence to capture Philadelphia. On March 8, 1781, the Marquis de Lafayette embarked his troops there to attempt a capture of Benedict Arnold. Returning on April 9, he began his overland march to Virginia. George Washington and Rochambeau with their combined forces stopped in Elkton on September 6–7, 1781, on their way to Yorktown.
In 1787, the town was incorporated as Elkton. By 1880, the population was 1,752.
Elkton, called by many the “Marriage Capital of the World”, used to be referred to as the Las Vegas of the East. Elkton was a popular destination for couples that wanted to avoid the mandatory marriage license waiting period imposed by neighboring states.
Elkton’s downtown historic sites and nearby golf courses make it perfect for an afternoon or weekend visit.
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