Joppatowne, Maryland

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Joppatowne is an unincorporated "bedroom community" in southwestern Harford County, Maryland, United States. It was established in 1961 as a Planned Unit Development (PUD). Joppatowne is a census-designated place (CDP) - the population was 11,391 at the 2000 census.

Joppatowne is only a small part of what is currently described as the "Joppa" area of Harford County. Joppa is an area technically defined by the US postal zip code 21085, and a designated planning region for the county. Joppa zip code 21085 extends some 12 miles (19 km) above Joppatowne, nearly to Bel Air, MD at its northernmost tip.

The namesake of both Joppatowne and Joppa is the original town of "Joppa" ("Joppa Town"), which was a major seaport in American colonial times, and stood within the boundaries of present-day Joppatowne.


Colonial History

In colonial America there were three towns in the area of present-day Joppatowne, each established and abandoned in succession: Gunpowder Town, Foster's Neck, and Joppa Town. The first two were short-lived, but Joppa Town proved quite successful for some 50 years.

Gunpowder Town, or simply Gunpowder, was a failed English settlement that pre-dated colonial Joppa Town, and was located close to it. This first attempt to establish an English settlement on the Gunpowder River was apparently abandoned because it proved to be a poor location choice. Though documents and records exist for the settlement, including official papers in the archives of the United Kingdom, nobody knows exactly where it was located. It was somewhere northwest of present-day Joppatowne, situated between the confluence of the Big Gunpowder and Little Gunpowder, at a place known as "Sim’s Point". Its location cannot be accurately pinpointed because at that time mouths of the Big and Little Gunpowder were about a mile further inland (above present-day US 40), and no trace of the town is known to have ever been found.

In 1706 the Provincial Assembly of Maryland chartered another town nearby, known as Foster's Neck. It was located on the eastern bank of the Gunpowder River, at the stream later known as Foster Branch (or "Foster's Branch"), at the southernmost boundary of present-day Joppatowne. Again, though mill ruins still remain in this area, the town's precise location is unknown. Foster's Neck was intended to succeed the town of Old Baltimore (no relation to Baltimore City) on the Bush River as the county seat of Baltimore County. However, Foster's Neck was abandoned only a year later, in 1707, reportedly due to an outbreak of smallpox. St. John's Parish temporarily moved inland, to where the Officer's Club at the Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Ground is currently located, and relocated to Joppa Town in 1712. After the decline of Joppa Town, St. John's Parish was finally moved to nearby Kingsville in the late 18th century.

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