History of New Carrollton

CarrollThe Beginning: Colonial Era

During Colonial times, the territory that is known as New Carrollton was called Terrapin Thicket, due to “a lot of turtles cavorting in the marshy land.” The thicket's first landowner was Ninian Beall, an immigrant who earned his passage to the colonies as an indentured servant. When he was freed in 1677, Mr. Beall was given a parcel of land in the thicket. Mr. Beall, upon his death at the age of 92 in 1717, owned 13,000 acres extending from Upper Marlboro to Georgetown. The Bealls built several houses as the family grew.

Civil War Era and the Origin of Familiar Citywide Names

At the time of the Civil War, the sympathies of the local families were divided. The Beckets, who owned the farm where The Beltway Exit 20 is today, joined the Union Forces. The Lanhams sympathized with the Confederates.

During the Civil War, Benjamin Lewis Lanham, who at the age of 16 joined the Confederate Army, came home on furlough. One day as he ate his dinner surrounded by his family, a squad of Union soldiers emerged from the woods. The men of the Lanham family took their guns off the walls, ready to protect Ben. The Yankees were approaching, but it was learned, only to ask for some water to drink. Accidentally, one of the Lanham's gun went off, and the Union soldiers hastily withdrew toward the site of the present day swimming pool on Westbrook Drive.

A New Era and Clear Vision

EntranceIn the mid 1920's, Edward L. Mahoney
purchased 300 acres of land, where he built his house in 1927. Shortly after establishing himself, Mahoney set up stables and a training track for his prize-winning horses. In 1939, he converted his track into a midget and stock car oval. It was known as the Old Lanham Raceway, and car races were held there though 1954.

After Mahoney's death in 1957, his estate was purchased by New Carrollton's developer, Albert W. Turner and incorporated into the City. The Mahoney house was used as Turner's office while the City was being built; later it was razed and burned.

Albert Turner had envisioned a completely planned suburban city, at that time a novel concept in the United States. Mr. Turner wanted his new city to blend well with the existing towns and communities in Prince George's County. The City's name, he realized, had to have deep roots in Maryland's heritage. After scanning history books, he came across the name of the most notable figures in Maryland's history. Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

 A bill was sponsored in the early 1950's and in the final hours of the 1953 General Assembly, on April 11, 1953, Senate Bill 475 was passes declaring the City of Carrollton an incorporated community with a charter under the laws of Maryland. Its government vested in the five councilmen at large, the first of whom were appointed by the General Assembly; two of the councilmen to serve until the election on the first Monday in May 1954, and three councilmen to serve until the biennial election on the first Monday in May 1956. The first councilmen appointed to sere until their successors were elected were Albert H. Turner, Edward Lammers, Herndon G. Kilby, W. Carroll Beatty and Albert W. Turner, selected by his colleagues to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. They were the only candidates and the only voters in the first City election in 1954. None of these men actually resided in the City.

A Bright Future

In 1970, Mayor King appointed a task force on city government, chaired by Dr.

EntranceFrank B. Pesci, which submitted its report, suggesting several major changes in the City Charter to alter the City's basic form of government: a mayor-city council form of government instead of the commission form of government. In 1971 the voters approved a proposal to lower the minimum voting age for city elections from 21 to 18, making New Carrollton the first city in Prince George's County to take such action, the Council also initiated action to remove the “freeholder” requirement from the city charter, which stipulates that elected officials of the city must be property owners. This action permitted tenants to be eligible for office, and this was another first in the county of the City ofNew Carrollton.

In the early 1990's , the City worked in cooperation with the General Services Administration of the U.S. Government and the Internal Revenue Service, on the design of the three new 10-story office buildings that are located across from the New Carrollton Metro station on Harkins Road. The buildings are occupied by over 4,000 employees of the Internal Revenue Service. 

Recently, the City welcomed a redesigned Four Points by Sheraton hotel at the intersection of Annapolis Road and 85th Avenue. The upscale hotel provides luxury accommodations, as well as a restaurant and meeting/event spaces. Additionally, new shops at the hotel usher in more dining options for visitors and residents, as well as office space and fitness facilities.

Why the City of “New” Carrollton?

The State of Maryland had three areas calling themselves “Carrollton”. Because of considerable confusion over mailing addresses and lost revenues, a resolution was introduced to the City Council, to change the City's name to “New Carrollton”. A public hearing was held on the name change, and on April 7, 1965, the City Council voted its approval of the change. The issue of a new name was brought to referendum and was approved by voters on May 2, 1966.

Who was

Charles Carroll of Carrollton?

CarrollCharles Carroll was born on September 19, 1737 in Annapolis. He was the grandson of Charles Carroll the Settler, who came to Maryland in 1688 and became the Attorney General of the Maryland colony. 

The younger Carroll was educated in Jesuit schools in France, and studied law in London. He was not allowed, however, to practice law in Maryland when he returned because of his religion. He became very involved in public affairs, but did not run for public office until the Revolution, because he was a Roman Catholic.

At age 27, Carroll received from his father a 10,000-acre estate in southern Frederick County called “Carrollton Manor.” From then on, he took the name Charles Carroll of Carrollton to distinguish himself from the other Charles Carrolls residing in Maryland.

Carroll became a recognized spokesman of Maryland colonists who desired to proclaim their independence from the British crown. From March until June in 1776, Carroll accompanied his cousin, Reverend John Carroll, the first United States Roman Catholic Archbishop and founder of Georgetown University, along with Benjamin Franklin and Judge Samuel Chase, on a mission to Canada seeking assistance and for the colonies during the Revolutionary War.

In June of 1776, he was sent, along with Samuel Chase, William Paca and Thomas Stone, to represent the State of Maryland at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

In 1789, Charles Carroll was the first United States Senator from Maryland, along with John Henry. He was appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee and in this capacity helped draft the “Bill of Rights.” He drafted a bill in 1789 for the gradual abolition of slavery in Maryland.

In 1821, he moved permanently to Baltimore from Annapolis, and on July 4, 1828, as the Director of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad he laid the “first stone” for the railroad. Charles Carroll of Carrollton died on November 14, 1832, at 96 years old, and the last survivor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.


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