Cottage City, Maryland

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Cottage City is a town in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States.[1] The population was 1,136 at the 2000 census. Cottage City is a small, quiet community lying between Eastern Avenue (the border with Washington, D.C.), Brentwood, Colmar Manor, and the Anacostia River. Cottage City was developed beginning in 1870 under the name of "The Highlands." The area was incorporated in 1924 as Cottage City.[2][3]



Its history dates to pre-revolutionary America; old records indicate that the area was home to several of the Potomac River Indian tribes. With the coming of European settlers, the area became noted for its deep-water Anacostia River port, known then as Harrison’s Landing. Contributing to the economy of Harrison’s Landing was Moyer’s Grist Mill located in Yarrow, the very first mill of its type between Baltimore and Alexandria in Virginia. Yarrow was renamed several times, but today we know Yarrow as Cottage City.[2]

Cottage City and Moyer’s Mill played a key role in the Battle of Bladensburg during the War of 1812. The mill acted as a hospital for wounded American militia, as well as an artillery battery. American forces were repulsed in a bitter fight in Mr. Moyer’s orchards, an event that resulted ultimately in the burning of the nation’s capital.[2]

During the post Civil War years, President Ulysses S. Grant stayed at a summer retreat known as the Friendship House located in Cottage City. Friendship House is long gone, replaced in the 1940s by an apartment house located on 38th Avenue and Parkwood Street.[2]

During the 1870s, groups of developers began to promote a residential community with large lots and a grid pattern of streets, stating the advantages of the community. "The Highlands" would feature cottages and villas on wide avenues, a good view, nominal taxes, and was close to Washington, D.C., the historic Bladensburg battlefield, spa spring, and dueling ground. The development failed despite the advertising campaign. In 1886, Colonel Gilbert Moyer bought the Highland tract, and incorporated the Highland Company in 1888. The land was re-subdivided into smaller lots, and Moyer promoted the land by including information that a streetcar line was soon to be developed in the area. This attempt to develop the area also failed. A few houses were developed on the Moyer property beginning in 1904 with broad streets laid out in a grid and trees planted along the street. A single-track trolley line ran through the community from Washington to Bladensburg. Called the Washington, Spa Spring and Gretta Railroad, the trolley was eventually discontinued in 1923, partially due to competition from the B & O Railroad and the streetcar line in Mt. Rainier.[4]

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