Town of Upper Marlboro Invites Public to Re-Create Historic 1922 Crain Highway Monument Photo on Saturday, October 1, 2022

September 13, 2022

You’re Invited! Crain Monument Centennial Celebration on Saturday, October 1, 2022 | 11:00 a.m.

“We are excited and proud to bring people together to re-create the photo that was taken 100 years ago,” said Upper Marlboro Town Clerk John Hoatson, who is organizing the Oct. 1 festivities. “We hope everyone who attends will feel a tremendous sense of pride in the role that Upper Marlboro played as a catalyst for transportation and trade in the Southern Maryland region of our state. This will be a truly monumental event!”

The 1922 celebration and parade would forever change the Town of Upper Marlboro and its future. The Merchants and Manufacturers Association of Baltimore had decided that Southern Maryland was an important location for bringing produce and other agricultural items into Baltimore. The association and political figures in Southern Maryland created a route which would connect Baltimore to Southern Maryland counties.

The original program from the Sept. 1922 ceremony tells of the events leading up to that celebration. A train brought members of the association, the Mayor of Baltimore, and hundreds of Baltimoreans onto Upper Marlboro’s Main Street for the celebration. Leading figures in the day’s ceremony were Albert C. Ritchie, then-governor of MD; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Crain, for whom Crain Highway was named; John N. Mackall, of the Maryland State Roads Commission; and the Honorable W. F. Broening, then Mayor of Baltimore.

As part of that regional observance, five young women representing each of the five counties participated in a flag ceremony along with the City of Baltimore. Governor Ritchie assured everyone that the flags would be preserved in the city hall as a constant reminder of the meaning of the ceremony. The U.S. Naval Academy Band played “Maryland, My Maryland.” The celebration was a tribute to the retail merchants from Baltimore and Southern Maryland and the future of building up the trade to help all parties grow in business.

Robert Crain Highway was originally a narrow, twisted dirt path passable only by horse-drawn vehicles. This vital link between the two cities was improved with a total of $1.25 million from the Maryland legislature (which would be $21-$22 million in today’s dollars) to complete a better road. On Oct. 22, 1927, Robert Crain Highway opened for the first time, thus greatly improving trade between Baltimore and the southern Maryland counties.

“People have driven or walked past this unique historic monument every day for the past 100 years and probably didn’t know its true significance to our town, to the region, and to the state,” noted Mayor Franklin.  “The Oct. 1 event will serve as an important reminder of how important the Town of Upper Marlboro has been to Maryland’s economy for over a century. We want people to attend this centennial celebration and be an important part of our town’s rich history.”

All photos courtesy of the Town of Upper Marlboro. For more information, click here to visit the town website or call the town offices at 301-627-6905.