Maryland Towns with Unusual Names: Fruitland

By Preservation Maryland

Next up in our series of towns with unusual names is Fruitland, Maryland. Located in Wicomico County, Fruitland is home to about 5,300 people. Visitors to the area can visit the Pemberton Historical Park, the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, or the Salisbury Zoo. Maryland’s Fruitland isn’t all that unusual, it seems, as there are 17 other towns in the United States that share the same name. 

How Fruitland got its name

Fruitland wasn’t always Fruitland. The town was originally called Disharoon’s Cross Roads for its confluence of country roads that led to Salisbury, Barren Creek, Rockawalkin, and other areas in southern Maryland and even Delaware; these roads developed before the American Revolution, in the 1760s and 1770s. The first house in the town now known as Fruitland was constructed in 1772. It belonged to George Disharoon, the man whose land tract inspired the creation of the town. A village soon emerged around these roads and Disharoon’s house.

The name of the town changed from Disharoon’s Cross Roads to Forktown around 1820; inhabitants thought that the fork in the road was the defining feature of the town. The fork in the road was often where travelers passing through the area would stop to regroup before they continued along the eastern shore. Near the end of the Civil War, railroads arrived in the town, bringing industrial development to the area. 

In 1873, the town became Fruitland to reflect the agricultural nature of the area; strawberries and tomatoes grew in abundance. Fruitland was incorporated into the United States in 1947. The logo of the town still displays holly and mistletoe, symbolizing the importance of agriculture to the town. 



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