Seat Pleasant is a friendly community located just over the District of Columbia line at its northeast corner. The site is part of what had been the Williams-Berry estate until the descendants of General Otho Holland Williams, a Revolutionary War hero, and James Berry, a mid-17th-century Puritan leader, sold it to Joseph Gregory in 1850.
Designers of the Chesapeake Beach Railway, constructed in 1897 to 99 between Washington and Chesapeake Beach in Calvert County, located their first station in Maryland (or last, depending on the direction of travel) on the railway's right-of-way that traversed the Gregory property. They called the station District Line.
In 1906, the growing number of residents in the area around the station adopted a more imaginative name for their community - Seat Pleasant, after the early Williams-Berry estate.
Steady growth of traffic on the Chesapeake Beach Railway between 1900 and its peak in 1920 translated into steady development for Seat Pleasant. When the community was incorporated as a town in 1931, it had a school, water company, sewer connections courtesy of the District of Columbia's sanitary system, and reliable fire protection by the Seat Pleasant Fire and Community Welfare Association. By that time, the railroad had been in steady decline for ten years, and in 1935 it ceased operations.
The cause of its demise - highway construction - was in clear evidence in Seat Pleasant. The town gained two state highways running through it - Maryland Route 704 (now called Martin Luther King Highway and previously named George Palmer Highway after a banker and community leader) and Maryland Route 214 (Central Avenue). With highway construction came further expansion for Seat Pleasant.
Construction of "affordable" housing, notably the Gregory Estates apartments in 1949, was the catalyst for the migration of African-American families from the District of Columbia; before that time, the community had been all white. In the 1980s, the old Chesapeake Beach Railroad roundhouse and turntable were demolished to make room for the Addison Plaza Shopping Center on Central Avenue. Like Watkins Hardware Store, which was a fixture in Seat Pleasant from the early 1900s until it finally closed in the mid-1990s, most of the testaments to the town's past are long gone.
Two that remain are the Episcopal Addison Chapel (1696) and Mount Victory Baptist Church (1908). Goodwin Park, named after a former mayor, is the town's most prominent location. Economic development is a continuing priority in Seat Pleasant as the city strives to improve the quality of life of its residents.
In 2017, Mayor Grant signed an agreement with IBM to build a $30 million cloud-based, Intelligent Operations Center in the City of Seat Pleasant, a Smart City of Excellence. This multi-year endeavor will elevate Seat Pleasant to become the first authentic Small Smart City in the world.
In addition to this significant accomplishment, Mayor Grant successfully petitioned the United States Department of Agriculture to designate Seat Pleasant as a "Rural Community," potentially giving the city access to millions of dollars of federal grants and funding. Because of the Mayor's continual efforts, he is currently using $4.1 million in Rural Development financing to remodel City Hall and the Maintenance Building into Smart Buildings.
Mayor Grant has automated the city's Finance Department, increasing accountability and transparency to the citizens. Seat Pleasant is also the first small city in the state of Maryland to utilize Budgeting for Outcomes, which has improved the effectiveness and efficiency of the Finance Department. His leadership created the opportunity for Seat Pleasant to become the first city in the country to obtain security clearance to fly police drones in the No-Fly Zone over the nation's capital, optimizing the city's ability to provide better safety to the region during times of uncertainty.
As the principal promoter for Seat Pleasant, a Smart City of Excellence, Mayor Grant has presented his vision for a center of innovation, information, and investment in front of some of the world's leading tech companies, emerging tech companies specializing in the Internet of Things and potential impact and social impact investors and angel investors.
- 1931 to 1936 H. O. Acuff
- 1936 to 1940 Charles M. Mace
- 1940 to 1944 William H. McGrath
- 1944 to 1952 Van Moreland
- 1952 to 1958 Ben H. Watkins
- 1958 to 1968 Edward J. Goodwin
- 1968 to 1970 John E. Myers
- 1970 to 1972 Charles F. McGee
- 1972 to 1982 Henry T. Arrington
- 1982 to 1994 Frank J. Blackwell
- 1994 to 2004 Eugene F. Kennedy
- 2004 to Current Eugene W. Grant