Elkridge is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Howard County, Maryland, United States. Founded early in the 18th century, Elkridge is located at the confluence of three counties, the other two being Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties. Elkridge qualifies as the oldest settlement in its present county, when Howard was a part of Anne Arundel County. Its location on the Patapsco River was a key element in its growth. The Maryland General Assembly elected a law to erect a 30-acre, forty-lot town at the pre-existing settlement of Elkridge Landing to be called “Jansen Town” in 1733.
Elkridge had a rich history of industries, including pig-iron forging, basket weaving, paper, cotton and grist milling, as well as employment from the B&O Railroad. The Thomas Viaduct, located over Levering Avenue at the entrance to the Patapsco Valley State Park, is the oldest multiple-arched curved stone railroad bridge in the world. Built in 1833, its architect was Benjamin Latrobe, Jr. The B&O first used horse-drawn coaches in relays, hence Relay Station was added. The viaduct also carried the Tom Thumb, and the first telegraph message from Washington, D.C., stating “What hath God wrought?” was wired across.
Elkridge has several K–12 educational facilities: Rockburn Elementary School, Elkridge Elementary School, the newly constructed Ducketts Lane Elementary School. Elkridge middle schools include Elkridge Landing Middle School on Montgomery Road and Mayfield Woods Middle School off of Mayfield Avenue. High school students in Elkridge usually attend either Howard High School in Ellicott City or Long Reach High School in Columbia.
Elkridge includes a range of recreational areas throughout the town. Patapsco Valley State Park runs along the Patapsco River in North Elkridge, with entrances on Landing Road, River Road, and South Street in nearby Relay. Rockburn Branch Park in West Elkridge provides athletic fields, playgrounds, and nature trails. Also in West Elkridge, Belmont Manor and Historic Park hosts private events as well as nature programs with the Howard County Conservancy and surrounding schools.