History

Queenstown

"Parvus Urbs Ad Is Aqua"
(Little Town on the Water)

The birth of Queenstown in Queen Anne’s County took place in 1707, and at that time was named “Queen Anne’s Towne”. In 1710 the name was changed to “Queen’s Towne” and many years later the “e” was dropped and it became one word. Both Queenstown and Queen Anne’s County were named after “Good Queen Anne” of England.

Queenstown was the home of the first County seat in 1707, and in 1708 the original Courthouse was built. The County seat remained here from 1707-1782, at which time it was moved to Centreville.

In January 1977, the Board of Town Commissioners acquired the original Courthouse property, which since 1782 had served as a home, warehouse, drug store, grocery store, restaurant, beer parlor, post office, and an antique shop. Prior to 1977, the Board had established the Queenstown Historic Preservation Committee for the purpose of securing and restoring the property. Over 400 individuals and businesses assisted with the restoration project. The opening of the restored Courthouse took place on May 5, 1979, and from spring of that year to August 2002, part of the building housed the Queenstown Town Office. Today the restored Courthouse serves as a tourist attraction for those people who wish to take a step back in time.

Queenstown was the first and only town in Queen Anne’s County to be attacked by the British during the War of 1812. The attack, which occurred in August 1813, took place at the “Bowlingly” estate. The British seriously damaged the estate and its contents before they moved on to Kent Island. “Bowlingly” still exists today as a private residence.

After having survived the War of 1812, a fire that almost destroyed the town in 1820, the Depression years, and the Mexican and Civil Wars, Queenstown still kept moving forward.

In the early to mid-1850’s, Queenstown was a stop for many steamboats, which would bring goods to the town and carry passengers up and down the Chester River and to Baltimore.

Today, agriculture and seafood harvesting are the dominant economic factors in our area. Retail shopping outlets, located in Queenstown, and the Queenstown Harbor Golf Links, adjacent to the Town, are thriving and bring many visitors to the Town.

Queenstown has three elected Commissioners, with one being appointed by the Commissioners annually to act as President. The Commissioners’ terms are staggered three-year terms, with an election held every year in November.

The Queenstown Commissioners hold regular business meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in the Town Office. The meetings are open to the public and time is reserved at the meetings for citizens to make inquiries, offer suggestions, or register complaints.

Queenstown's Historic Colonial Court House

Queenstown's Courthouse is like stepping through a portal in time. Much of your surroundings are original, such as the horizontal oak wall sheathing and some of the weatherboarding on the end walls. The flooring, originally a typical earth floor, was later updated to wood. The frame structure dates to 1708 and the brick section was added between 1820 and 1840, well after the 1782 transfer of the county seat to Centreville.

The Courthouse is open the first Saturday of every month from May to October. Volunteers are needed to support the monthly open house. Children are enouraged to particpate. Please contact the town office at 410-827-7646 for details.

If you are interested in holding a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or group event please call for details.

Thank you for your support!