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St. Mary’s County, MD
St. Mary’s County was named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the site of the first Roman Catholic Mass in the New World. The first English settlers arrived here at St. Clement’s Island on March 25, 1634 from the Isle of Wight in England. Annually, this landing is celebrated as Maryland Day.
Created in 1637, St. Mary’s County holds the distinction of being the first county to be established in Maryland. The county is also where Francis Scott Key, the author of The Star Spangled Banner grew up.
Point Lookout State Park
—Point Lookout served as an important watch post during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. At the onset of the Civil War, Point Lookout became a hospital for the Union and a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. A Civil War Museum is open seasonally to give visitors a glimpse into the past. Also located in the park are 143 campsites, three fishing areas, swimming areas with lifeguards, a playground, picnic tables and a boat launch.
St. Clement’s Island State Park
—This 40-acre island is the site of Maryland’s birthplace. It was here that the original English settlers landed in 1634 seeking to establish a colony of religious freedom. The island offers hiking trails, a picnic pavilion, and scenic views of the Potomac River along with educational panels showing the island’s history. A more detailed history of the island is available at a museum on the nearby main shore.
Cecil’s Mill Historic District
—Cecil’s Mill Historic District was one of Maryland’s first Industrial Districts. Its centerpiece is the Old Mill, built in 1812 as a cotton/textile factory and later rebuilt as a saw mill. Today, the mill exhibits artifacts from Maryland’s early industrial days and artisans offer handmade crafts and original artwork. Also included in the historic district is Cecil’s Country Store and Post Office.
Historic St. Mary’s City
—St. Mary’s City is Maryland’s premier living history museum and archeological park. The city was Maryland’s first capital and the fourth permanent English settlement in the Americas. Today, the 835-acre site allows visitors to board a tall ship, tour the 1676 Statehouse, explore Woodland Indian Hamlet or watch the ongoing reconstruction efforts of the original brick chapel