Catonsville is a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland, the U.S., with the population of over 41,000 at the 2010 census. The economic and demographic growth of Catonsville is mostly influenced by the presence of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), a leading public research university with approximately 14,000 students.
Before the arrival of the European colonists the area now known as Catonsville had been inhabited by the Piscataway tribe occupying the vast territory between the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay and up the Patapsco River, with Catonsville located right along the Piscataway Trail. Until the mid-17th century the colonists and the tribes lived peacefully side by side. After the English government put an end to the Catholic missionaries in the area the tribes were driven from their villages. European diseases to which Native Americans had no built-up immunity sent their population plummeting and eventually, the tribes migrated north to settle under the protection of the Iroquois.
The colonists continued their expansion across Maryland and settled Catonsville in the 18th century. In the early 19th century, a county road along the Patapsco River which is now known as Route 144 was opened by the Ellicott family to ensure traffic between their flour mill, Ellicott Mills, and Baltimore. The present-day Catonsville was settled along this road by Richard Caton, a sun-in-law of Charles Carroll, a co-signer of the Declaration of Independence. Rich citizens of Baltimore built the large Victorian and Colonial homes in Catonsville and used them as summer residences to escape the heat of the city. But with the introduction of the automobile and electric trolley, more and more people began to dwell in Catonsville year round. Later Baltimore tried to annex Catonsville, but all the attempts, including the last one in 1918, failed. The community is currently an unincorporated town in Baltimore County. Catonsville is home to Spring Grove Hospital Center, one of the oldest and still operating psychiatric hospitals in the country.
In 2002, the Maryland declared Catonsville "Music City, Maryland" due to a great number of musical retail stores, venues and educational facilities in the area.
In 2007 Catonsville was ranked the 49th best place to live in the U.S. and third best in Maryland and Virginia by Money magazine.
Catonsville has a total area of 14.0 square miles (36 km2). Centered along Maryland Route 144 it is bordered by Woodlawn to the north, Baltimore to the east, by Arbutus to the southeast, by Ilchester to the southwest, and by Ellicott City to the west. Catonsville is a terminus of the Trolley Line Number 9 Trail.
According to the census in 2010 the population of Catonsville numbered 41,567 people. The ethnic composition of the population included 73.4% non-Hispanic white, 14.3% non-Hispanic black, 0.3% Native American, 6.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% non-Hispanic from some other race, 2.4% from two or more races and 3.4% Hispanic or Latino from any race.
Catonsville area boasts a number of museums, including Benjamin Banneker Museum, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Spring Grove Hospital Center Alumni Museum. Nature lovers will appreciate the scenic views and picturesque landscapes that offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities in abundant parks and recreational areas, such as Catonsville Community Park, Conservation and Environmental Research Areas of UMBC, George F.Bragg Nature Study Center and Horticulture Center, Gliston Park, Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park, Benjamin Banneker Historical Park, Maiden Choice Park, Patapsco Valley State Park, Western Hills Park and Westview Recreation Area.