Map showing the Washington and St. Mary's Railroad and its proposed connections north, south, east and west.
Washington DC’s Capitol building was expanded in the 1850's with a new dome designed by Thomas U. Walter. The new dome and other additions designed by Walter improved and modernized the building.
Conditions elsewhere in the vicinity were somewhat primitive. The Organic Act of 1871 repealed the individual town charters of Georgetown and Washington, creating the District of Columbia. From that point the Capital city began a major improvement program.
Streets of the Capital were paved and a sewer system built. Electric lighting was installed in 1879. Washington gained 900 subscribers of the newly formed Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company in 1883.
Washington Monument was finally completed in 1884 and dedicated before a crowd of thousands in 1885.
Maryland’s original capital had been located at St. Mary’s City, in St. Mary’s County. The state-funded St. Mary’s College was established there in 1840.
The waterways surrounding the peninsula, on which St. Mary's County stands, afforded abundant seafood including crab and oysters. Boat building was an important nineteenth century industry to the region. Farmers of the county were proficient at raising tobacco in the 1880's.
The Washington & St. Mary’s Railroad was designed to transport the resources of the county and provide good access to the fishing areas of the Patuxent and Potomac Riversand Chesapeake Bay. Locals referred to the line as the “Farmer’s Railroad”.
A large portion of the railroad line is currently under the jurisdiction of the St. Mary County Department of Recreation and Parks for use as a non-motorized, pedestrian and bicycle trail, running from Hughesville, in Charles County, to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
This map of the middle Atlantic states was published in 1887 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. It shows relief, drainage, counties, cities and towns, roads, and railroads with emphasis on the main line. Displayed are portions of Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and District of Columbia.