Jessup, Maryland

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Jessup (pronounced JESS-up) is an unincorporated town and census-designated place in Howard County, Maryland and Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The population was 7,865 at the 2000 census. The center of population of Maryland is located in Jessup.[1] It was the location of Maryland House of Correction, which was one of the Maryland Department of Corrections prison complexes until it closed in 2007.[2] The community has a little-used stop on the Camden line of the MARC commuter rail service. The town's prison is referenced several times in the HBO original series, The Wire.



Jessup is located at 39°08′18″N 76°46′30″W / 39.138374°N 76.774929°W / 39.138374; -76.774929 (39.138374, -76.774929).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11.0 km2).None of the area is covered with water.


The town began as Jessup's Cut, a post village in Howard County on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The name is generally attributed to Jonathan Jessup, a civil engineer who worked on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The name was shortened in 1863. Into the mid 20th century, the town was called Jessups, then was shortened to Jessup.[4]

Since the mid-19th century, the area has been home to various penal institutions.[5][6] Inmates today still refer to these jails as "the cut," probably unaware of the origin of the name.

Among its notable residents was Arnold Elzey, a major general in the Confederate army during the American Civil War; he retired to a small farm near Jessup.

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