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Easton Town

Easton Town Hall is located at 14 South Harrison Street, Easton MD 21601; phone: 410-822-2525. The Town of Easton was incorporated in 1790.

Brick Row Houses on North Washington Street, Easton, Photographed in May, 1936
Photo: Brick Row Houses, North Washington Street, May 1936, Frederick D. Nichols, photographer, Historic American Buildings Survey [HABS MD-21], memory.loc.gov, accessed June, 2012.

Beginnings [1]

Easton was founded in 1710 for the purpose of establishing a new seat for Talbot County after huge portions of the county were broken away to form Queen Anne's and Caroline Counties. The old county seat at York was no longer centrally located. Until this time no town existed in the area although a Quaker group had erected the Third Haven Meeting House (included in the Easton Historic District) in the late 17th century. The status of the county seat was reaffirmed in 1788 by another legislature act which also incorporated the town under the name of Easton.

As the county seat and center of power and prestige, Easton rapidly grew. The town is listed in the 1790 census as having a population of 640. In the decades following the American Revolution, she developed into one of the Eastern Shore's largest and most important centers primarily because of its central location. The Easter Shore suffered a decline in trade and population concurrent with the opening of new and better farmland to the west. The Civil War accelerated this decline. Little new construction occurred in Easton during this period.

In 1869 Easton entered a new era of development with the arrival of the Maryland and Delaware Railroad, thus providing rapid and direct connection with the major commercial, industrial, and population centers on the east coast. The railroad brought new inland transportation for commerce, industry and agricultural and seafood products to supplement the daily steamboats which had been operating for some years from Easton Point. The railroads also brought new residents, money and prosperity to the town. The prosperity lasted until the Great Depression which brought the entire nation to a period of decline.

  1. George Andreve, Pamela James, and Ronald L. Andrews; Maryland Historical Trust, Easton Historic District, nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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