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City of Westminster, Maryland
—  City  —

Location in Maryland.
Coordinates: 39°34′36″N 77°0′0″W / 39.57667°N 77°W / 39.57667; -77
Country United States
State Maryland
County Carroll
Founded 1764
Incorporated 1818
 - Mayor Kevin T. Utz
 - Total 5.7 sq mi (14.8 km2)
 - Land 5.7 sq mi (14.8 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 764 ft (233 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 16,731
 - Density 2,929.4/sq mi (1,131.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 21157-21158
Area code(s) 410
FIPS code 24-83100
GNIS feature ID 0595080

Westminster is a city in northern Maryland, United States. It is the county seat of Carroll County.[1] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's population was 17,689 for a 12-month period ending 01 July 2008.[2] Westminster is an outlying community within the Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA, which is part of a greater Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV CSA.



On June 29, 1863, the cavalry skirmish known as Corbit's Charge was fought in the streets of Westminster, when two companies of Delaware cavalry attacked a much larger Confederate force under General J.E.B. Stuart.

In April 1865, Joseph Shaw, newspaper editor, had his presses wrecked and his business destroyed, and was subsequently beaten and stabbed to death by four men in Westminster, allegedly because of an anti-Lincoln editorial that was published the week before the actual assassination. In a later trial at the Westminster Court House the four men were acquitted; the reason cited was "self-defense."

Just north of Westminster is the farm at which Whittaker Chambers hid the so-called "pumpkin papers."

A historic marker states that Westminster was the first place in the nation to offer Rural Free Delivery postal service.

Westminster is the birthplace of Sargent Shriver (born 1915), former candidate for Vice President of the United States and brother-in-law of John F. Kennedy.


Westminster is located at 39°34′36″N 77°0′0″W / 39.57667°N 77°W / 39.57667; -77 (39.576551, -77.000120).[3]

According to MapQuest, Westminster is approximately 36.5 miles (58.7 km) driving distance NW of Baltimore and 37.5 miles (60.4 km) driving distance SW of York, Pennsylvania.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.7 square miles (14.8 km²), all of it land.


Westminster lies in the humid continental climate zone, and experiences higher annual snowfall and colder temperatures than the southern half of Maryland, which has a humid subtropical climate.


Tornado Activity

Westminster's historical tornado activity is slightly above the Maryland state average and 38% greater than the overall U.S. average.

On July 19, 1996, an F3 (which has wind speeds of 158-206 mph) tornado struck 5.5 miles away from the Westminster city center, injuring three people and causing $5 million in damages.

On April 15, 1952, an F3 tornado hit 15.5 miles away from the city center, injuring four people and causing between $500,000 and $5,000,000 in damages.[4]


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 16,731 people, 6,420 households, and 3,762 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,929.4 people per square mile (1,131.3/km²). There were 6,755 housing units at an average density of 1,182.7/sq mi (456.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.28% White, 5.49% African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.65% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.78% of the population.

There were 6,420 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.4% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 14.5% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,477, and the median income for a family was $50,879. Males had a median income of $37,186 versus $28,419 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,320. About 7.9% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.


The Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) system enrolls over 28,000 students, which makes it the ninth largest school system in the state of Maryland. In Westminster, there are two high schools: Westminster Senior High School, Winters Mill High School; two middle schools: East and West Middle School; and nine elementary schools.

Westminster is home to McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College), which hosts the summer training camp of the Baltimore Ravens NFL team.


The Hashawha Tower is a windmill in Westminster. It stands at the Hashawha Environmental Center[6].


Westminster in the media

In 2001, ABC News produced a story calling Westminster the heroin capital of the country because of drug problems at Westminster High School, once called "Heroin High," with overdoses peaking at more than three per week.[7][8]

In 2000, one member of the Carroll County Drug Task Force, Detective Richard Ruby, was accused of planting drugs on suspects and was suspended with pay. As a result, a number of drug cases had to be dismissed because of the compromised security of the evidence due to Ruby's involvement. This also lead to the release of a number of persons who had been in jail awaiting trial.[9]

The film For Richer or Poorer was filmed in Westminster.

In 1997, Linda Fisher aka The Muffin Lady, who made and sold muffins to people and stores in downtown Westminster in an effort to stay off welfare, was shut down by the Carroll County Health Department because she was not using a commercial kitchen. The Westminster Fire Department helped her by offering the use of their catering kitchen. This experience led to a story on Good Morning America and the publication of Fisher's cookbook, MUFFIN MAKEOVERS; Recipes and Reflections From Linda Fisher, Rebuilding Her Life One Batch at a Time.

Sister city


External links


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