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Ridgely is a town in Caroline County, Marylandmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 1,352 at the 2000 census. Its main ZIP code is 21660, but is assigned eight other "216" zip codes due to its status as a home to fulfillment companies that receive and ship mail-in offers. The primary phone exchange is 634 and the area code is 410. Maryland Route 480 bisects the town. Pelican Airport serves the area also. Ridgelyites boast of the widest main street of any town in Maryland; it was once considered "The Strawberry Capital" and still holds a Strawberry Festival each May.


Ridgely is located at (38.944896, -75.883489) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,352 people, 513 households, and 349 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,269.0 people per square mile (487.9/km²). There were 553 housing units at an average density of 519.1/sq mi (199.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 81.58% White, 15.61% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.96% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.18% of the population.

There were 513 households out of which 39.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the town the population was spread out with 30.4% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $35,750, and the median income for a family was $38,929. Males had a median income of $27,356 versus $19,844 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,581. About 7.8% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.4% of those under age 18 and 14.6% of those age 65 or over.


In 1867, the land around present day Ridgely was purchased by the Maryland and Baltimore Land Association from Thomas Bell and the Reverend Greenbury W. Ridgely. During this time period, a railroad boom on the Delmarva Peninsulamarker was fueling land speculation. Civil engineer J.J. Sickler from Philadelphiamarker was commissioned to design the town's layout. The Land Association began construction and built four buildings, including a railroad station, hotel, and two private residences during the first year. James K. Saulsbury constructed a combined store and residence, now known as the Ridgely House.

During the Land's Association's first year, it went bankrupt; Ridgely was left unfinished and sparsely populated. Most properties were sold at public auction, and Ridgely began to grow gradually as a result of its location on the Maryland and Delaware Railroad line.

Ridgely's economy flourished as a result of its flourishing local crop production, including strawberries, huckleberries, vegetables, eggs, and poultry. Most crops were processed in Ridgely or sent to various locations on the railroad. As the nation began to rely on highways instead of railroads for transportation and industry began to concentrate in larger urban areas, Ridgely's economy declined.

Ridgely became known as the "Strawberry Capital of the World" as a result of its prosperous agricultural business. Every May, Ridgely hosts the Strawberry Festival to celebrate its past.

Town Officials and Staff

President of Commissioners: Nancy Gearhart

Commissioners: Kathy Smith, Dale Mumford, and Linda Epperly-Glover

Town Manager: Joe Mangini

Clerk-Treasurer: Carol Balderson

Assistant Clerk: Melissa Vanskiver

Town Receptionist: Sara Wright

Codes Administrator: Cary Malkus

Director of Public Works: Robin Eaton

Assistant Director of Water & Sewer: David Crist

Chief of Police: Gary Foster

Famous Residents

Points of Interest

  • Adkins Arboretum
  • The Benedictine School, a residential facility for considerably handicapped youth, dates back to 1891 on a farm near Ridgely. Colin Powell has served twice on its Board of Directors.
  • Tuckahoe State Park
  • Skydive Maryland a full service skydiving school located at Ridgely-Pelican Airport


  1. Side Menu page
  2. Strawberry Festival
  3. Government Template
  4. Ridgely, MDs, Administration
  5. Side Menu page

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