Skip to main content
HomeZ-RESEARCH - Useful Links

General County History

Historic Sites & Museums

  • Maryland Historic Trust (MHT) Inventory of Historic Properties - There are 1,096 historic properties in St. Mary's County recorded in the inventory.  Each property record has an intake sheet, history, physical description, maps, and photos.  An amazing resource!
    • List of Historic Properties  -The page will come up filtered for St. Mary's County properties.  Numbers go from SM-1 to SM-933. There are 11 pages.  
    • Map of Historic Properties - St. Mary's County Government GIS map with the Historic Properties layer turned on.  All 1,096 historic properties are represented by a purple dot.  Pan and zoom the map to explore a certain area.  Click on a dot to show the property name, and click the "State Summary PDF" link to see the MHT description.
  • Maryland Historic Markers - Pictures & descriptions of the 20 Maryland historical markers located in St. Mary's County.  (Maryland Historic Trust)
  • African American Historic Sites - Website of UCAC.  Contains downloadable map of historic sites.  Also photographs, oral histories, and other resources.
  • Southern Maryland African-American Heritage Guide - Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s County have partnered with Destination Southern Maryland to create the Southern Maryland African American Heritage Guide and Map.
  • Charlotte Hall Historic District - The Charlotte Hall Historic District encompasses a small village intersected by "Old Route 5" which runs east to west through the town and along which many of the existing buildings and sites are situated. Within the historic district boundaries are 13 recorded buildings and sites of historic and/or architectural interest.
  • Charlotte Hall Military Academy - Initially established as Charlotte Hall School in 1774 by Queen Charlotte.  It provided for "the liberal and pious education of youth to better fit them for the discharge of their duties for the British Empire."  
  • Confederate Memorial Park - Scotland, MD - Located outside of Point Lookout State Park, the memorial park was constructed by the Point Lookout Descendant's Organization to honor those who were imprisoned and died at Point Lookout during the Civil War.
  • Drayden African-American Schoolhouse (c. 1890) - Known as one of the best-preserved African American schoolhouses in the country, this recently-renovated (2018), one-room structure stands on its original site and has not been significantly altered. Built around 1890, it continued use until 1944.
  • Historic Sotterly - Sotterley Plantation is the only Tidewater plantation in Maryland open to the public.  It consists of an early 18th-century mansion, an original slave cabin, a customs warehouse, smokehouse, necessary and corn crib, as well as a formal Colonial Revival garden.
  • Historic St. Mary's City - One of the premier historic sites in America, a museum of living history and archaeology telling diverse stories on the site of Maryland’s first capital in beautiful, tidewater Southern Maryland.
  • McKenna Hall Museum - St. Peter Claver is the only predominantly African-American parish in the county. St. Peter Claver Catholic School was begun in 1916, and was the first Catholic school to provide education opportunities to African- American children in St. Mary's County. The school burned in 1928, was rebuilt, and remained open until 1965. The building, renamed McKenna Hall, serves as a museum.
  • Old Jail Museum - Built in 1876 and in use until 1945 by the oldest sheriff’s office in the nation.
  • Patuxent River Naval Air Station - Established by the Navy in 1945 as a testing location for Naval aircraft
  • Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park - The museum details the area's history and also includes an exhibit of the WWII U-1105 Black Panther German submarine, which lies just offshore in an area designated as the state's first Historic Shipwreck Dive Preserve.
  • Point Lookout State Park -  Location of a camp which imprisoned as many as 52,264 Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. A museum on site recounts this vivid history.
  • Summerseat Farm - With a history dating back to the late 17th century, Summerseat is a 120-acre working farm with a Queen-Anne style house, outbuildings including meat and dairyhouses, barns, and gardens. 
  • St. Clement's Island Museum - This museum shares the story of Maryland's founding and traces the route of the first brave English colonists who sailed across the dangerous Atlantic Ocean in two small wooden ships (the Ark & the Dove), landing on St. Clement's Island in March of 1634.
  • United States Colored Troops Memorial Monument - In St. Mary's County during the 1800s there were more than 6,500 slaves and over 700 were recruited as United States Colored Troops. This monument honors the United States Colored Troops and all Union soldiers and sailors from St. Mary’s County who fought during the Civil War.


  • Maryland State Archives - Guide to Government Records - The Maryland State Archives is the central repository for state government records of permanent value. The Archives operates with a broad legal mandate to acquire and care for both public and private records relating to the history of Maryland from initial settlement in 1634 to the present.
  • National Archives - The National Archives was established in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt, but its major holdings date back to 1775.  There are approximately 13.28 billion pages of textual records; 10 million maps, charts, and architectural and engineering drawings; 44.4 million still photographs, digital images, filmstrips, and graphics; 40 million aerial photographs; 563,000 reels of motion picture film; 992,000 video and sound recordings; and 1,323 terabytes of electronic data.

Historic Churches

  • Historic Churches and Religious Sites of St. Mary's County, Maryland - Brochure published by St. Mary's County Division of Tourism.  Documents 14 important sites in the county.
  • All Faith Episcopal Church - Mechanicsville, MD - When the Parish of All Faith in St. Mary's County was created in 1692, the Parish Church at Huntersville was already built and named "All Faith."  According to competent authority, the name "All Faith" was originally "Allfaiths" because in Resurrection Hundred it was the only building set aside for religious worship and all religious faiths used it.
  • Christ Episcopal Church - Chaptico, MD - Christ Episcopal Church, Chaptico, is one of the oldest churches in continual use in America.  The congregation dates from 1640, only six years after the landings of the Ark and the Dove at St. Clement’s Island, establishing the Maryland colony. 
  • St. Andrew's Episcopal Church - California, MD - Founded in 1744, the present church was built in 1767, designed by William Boulton who crafted the woodwork at nearby Sotterley Plantation. It is an outstanding example of colonial architecture.
  • St. Francis Xavier - Newtown, MD - Nearly three and one-half centuries of history, beginning with the establishment of Catholicism in English America, have been witnessed by Newtowne, Maryland.  As its name implies, Newtowne was the first settlement in the Maryland province after the original at St. Mary’s City.  
  • St. Georges Episcopal Church - Valley Lee, MD - The first wooden church was built here in Valley Lee between 1638 and 1642. The current church built in 1799, is home to the oldest Episcopal Parish in Maryland.
  • St. Ignatius Church, St. Mary's City, MD - The first chapel of St. Ignatius was built in 1641 in St. Mary's City. In 1704, the colony's early policies of religious toleration were abolished and the chapel was closed. The church was dismantled and the bricks taken down river to land owned by the Jesuits. After the American Revolution, in 1785, the present day St. Ignatius Church was built.
  • St. Nicholas Chapel Celebrates 100 Years - St. Nicholas Chapel, located at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, is the only Department of Defense chapel that had its beginnings as a Roman Catholic mission, then church, and since World War II, has been a Navy military chapel.

  • St. Peter Claver - Ridge, MD - St. Peter Claver Church of Ridge was not in existence when the Black Catholics attended Mass at various churches in the county. St. Peter emerged and blossomed from what was for nearly twenty years as part of St. Michael’s Church in Ridge, Maryland. 
  • Trinity Episcopal Church - St. Mary's, MD - Originally established in 1638, the first Trinity Church was a wooden structure located on Smith Creek. In 1642, it was moved to St. Mary's City and in 1694, when the state capital was moved from St. Mary's City to Annapolis, the local State House served as the church for 134 years. The present-day church was constructed in 1829 using brick salvaged from the original 1676 State House. 

Roads, Byways and Trails



  • Find a Grave - Find the graves of ancestors, create virtual memorials or add photos, virtual flowers and a note to a loved one's memorial.  Over 210 million records
  • Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery - Ridge, Maryland - By the end of the Civil War, more than 50,000 Confederate prisoners had passed through Point Lookout’s gates, making it the largest prisoner of war facility in the north. The soldiers who died at the prison camp are now buried at Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery located north of the historic prison.
  • St. Nicholas Cemetery: A Window to the Past - In 1942, when the Navy acquired the land to build Naval Air Station Patuxent River, the town of Pearson and the farms at Cedar Point vanished; however, a tangible link to their past still exists in the cemetery surrounding St. Nicholas Chapel.
  • USS Tulip Monument & Cemetery - The monument marks the smallest federal cemetery in the nation. Originally built for China's military, in 1863, the Tulip was purchased by the Navy for use in the Potomac Flotilla. On November 11, 1864, she left the flotilla base at St. Inigoes on her way to the Navy shipyards in Washington D.C., for repair. Not long underway, as she passed the Piney Point lighthouse, the boiler exploded and she sank immediately. Only eight of the crew of fifty-seven survived.

Airports & Railroads