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After the formation of Queen Anne’s County removed land to the north, a new more centrally located seat for Talbot County was created in 1710. Another legislative act in 1788 incorporated the settlement with the name Easton, and a federal judiciary act stipulated that district court should alternate between Baltimore and Easton, setting the stage for the town’s ascendance as the most prosperous and largest jurisdiction on the Eastern Shore in the early nineteenth century. Still intact Federal-period development around the courthouse square speaks to the importance of this period in Easton’s history, such as the group of two-and-a-half-story Flemish-bond brick town houses (c. 1800) with delicate fanlights and carved cornices at 111–121 N. Washington Street. Arrival of the Maryland and Delaware Railroad in 1869 ushered in a period of post—Civil War economic development. Downtown Easton is oriented around the courthouse and quickly transitions from brick or frame commercial buildings to residential neighborhoods of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century houses. Historic Easton Inc. was founded in 1973 to preserve the town’s architecture, and shortly thereafter a historic district zoning ordinance was adopted to protect building exteriors.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie

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