Towson () is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland, United States. The population was 55,197 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Baltimore County and the second-most populous unincorporated county seat in the United States (after Ellicott City, the seat of nearby Howard County, southwest of Baltimore).
The first inhabitants of the future Towson and central Baltimore County region were the Susquehannock people, who hunted in the area. Their region included all of Baltimore County, though their primary settlement was farther northeast along the Susquehanna River.
Towson was settled in 1752 when Pennsylvania brothers, William and Thomas Towson, began farming an area of Sater's Hill, northeast of the present-day York and Joppa Roads. William's son, Ezekiel, opened the Towson Hotel to serve the growing number of farmers bringing their produce and livestock to the port of Baltimore. He built the hotel at current-day Shealy Avenue and York Road, near the area's main crossroads. The village became known as "Towsontown". The property in West Towson came from two land grants: 400 acre Gott's Hope in 1719, and Gunner's Range in 1706.
In 1790, businessman Capt. Charles Ridgely completed the Hampton Mansion just north of Towsontown, the largest private house in America at the time. The Ridgelys lived there for six generations, until 1948.