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.