The McCool Armory, one of Elkton’s Historic Properties, Declared Surplus

This week the Cecil Guardian reported that the Maryland Military Department has placed the “armory in Elkton” on a surplus property list.  This historic structure, one of only four structures on the National Register in the county seat, was built of light gray granite in 1915 as part of state’s expansion of the National Guard.  It has a large drill hall and imitates a castle’s design with its two corner towers flanking the front and its flying buttresses.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

The structure cost $39,000 when it opened as the headquarters for Company E of the 115th Infantry, 29th division.   In addition to its protective role, it also served as a social center for the community with all types of public events being held in the hall.  Since the Mayor and Commissioners of Elkton have been searching for property for a recreation center, this state-owned site with its large drill hall for the guard might fill the role.  In addition, such an action might preserve a historic resource as so many have been lost in Elkton.

The Militiary Department officially named the Elkton facility the LTC James Victor McCool Armory a few years ago.  Lt. Col. McCool died on March 16, 2011 at the age of 94.  He joined the Maryland National Guard in 1935 and almost a decade later commanded troops, many of them from Cecil, who stormed ashore in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He retired as a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel in 1967.

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12 responses to “The McCool Armory, one of Elkton’s Historic Properties, Declared Surplus

  1. I would not be here withot the Armory. My parents met at a dance there in 1949.

    • Jo Ann wouldn’t it be great to take the historic property, one of only four in Elkton, back to that earlier time when it was an important social center for the community, in addition to its military role. That would be a great adaptive reissue since the town is looking to build a recreation center.

  2. I love the dedication of all those who served & fought for their our country and those fighting to preserve the history. I absolutely love the pics. Their faces should never be forgotten

    • Thanks Janet. I’ll have to do a couple of stories about those earlier soldiers at some point. That division saw serious action during World War II and at other times. The company was down on the Mexican border much earlier.

  3. Great Idea MIke! Creating more downtown visits can only serve to help revitalize the area, while preserving a landmark. Perhaps that would create the critical mass necessary to attract more small businesses to Main St.

    • Thanks Hu shanjian. Imagine providing a cultural resource that draws crowds into the center of town. Right now they’re thinking about putting it by the detention center and sewer plant, at the edge of town.

  4. Stephen Foster Sr

    The town is ready to spend millions on a building on the other side of town that no one will go to partly because of its proximity to Hollingsworth manor the other being it is on the other side of town wouldn’t the armory be an ideal location. If not for the rec center i seem to recall the police chief saying he wanted a new location as they have outgrown their present accommodations what a great place for them to occupy If I recall from my youthful days there is even a range in the basement.

    Steve Foster

    • It’s too logical Steve — save money, have a ready made recreation center, and serve as a draw for downtown. Or since they need another PD, that sure seems like another viable option. It’s a big sturdy bulding.

  5. Andrea Boulden Gagliano

    I grew up in Elkton and my father Warren Boulden used to do many events there. It should be used as a social center and a place for vets to get help. I pray they do not tear it down. Is it for sale? Andrea Boulden Gagliano – Andrea@WHOAwomen.com

  6. I too met my husband there at the Saturday night canteen in 1962. Great memories of the many dances held there. Would love to see it being used again.

  7. Ann, that old place, and it’s additional use as a community center, certainly generated lots of great old memories that are still recalled today. Wouldn’t it be nice to see it get used as a draw for downtown Elkton again.

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