In the News

Old Ellicott City Loves Cyclists

The Ellicott City Partnership (ECP) welcomes people on bikes and the tremendous amount of business they bring to Ellicott City’s shops and restaurants.  To that end, ECP has been working with the Howard County Government to add amenities for cyclists, including better signage to indicate shared traffic lanes through town, as well as a number of highly visible and conveniently located bike racks. These new bike racks will be installed in time for summer!
Sharrows (Share + Arrows) will be painted on Main Street to remind motorists that they share the roadshould expect to share the lane with cyclists and to remind cyclists that they can ride in mixed traffic where there is no bicycle lane. The painting of the sharrows is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29, 2016.  (There may be some minor traffic delays as the crews paint the sharrow symbols.)
Visitors should also note that Council Bill 3-2016 now prohibits bikes, skateboards and other play vehicles on the sidewalks within the historic district for pedestrian safety.

Facade Improvement Grant Available

There is free money available to spruce up your business or home in the Ellicott City Historic District!

“The Ellicott City Façade Improvement Program (FIP) is a program administered by the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning to aid property and business owners in the repair and restoration of commercial buildings within the Ellicott City Historic District. All FIP applications must first be reviewed and approved by the Historic Preservation Commission. Planning and Zoning staff administering the FIP will review applications concurrently with the HPC. Funds are available on a “first-come first-serve” basis and can cover up to 50% of the cost of the work up to $10,000. The 25% historic tax credit can also be utilized with the restoration work to maximize the owners affordability.”

This program covers:

• Painting
• Awnings
• Lighting
• New signs, sign repair and restoration
• Masonry repair
• Door and window repair (replacement only if with an all wood window and door)
• Removal of inappropriate or incompatible exterior finishes
• All repair or restoration work that uses traditional building materials and is shown to be an original feature of the building

To find out more about taking advantage of this grant, go to

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Historic Ellicott City Building History

Howard County Courthouse

“Old Howard County Courthouse” – The corner of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street


The Old Howard County Courthouse was built in 1840 and served as the first county seat until 1843 when the large granite courthouse was constructed on Mount Misery. Originally, it was located on Mercer Street and had an adjoining wood structure that served as stables.


By 1969, the original structure had fallen into disrepair and was slated by the county to be demolished. However, in 1970, The Howard County Historical Society convinced the county executives to sell them the property for $1.


In 1971, along with other donations, the Howard County Historical Society held a dinner/dance fundraiser and was able to raise enough money to move and restore the Old Howard County Courthouse.


Today, the Old Howard County Courthouse holds the Heritage Orientation Center. It is open daily from 11am – 4pm.



Historic Ellicott City Building History

Mt. Ida. Sarah's lane.picture-2

“Mt. Ida” – 3091 Sarah’s Lane


Mt. Ida was built in 1828 by the grandson of Andrew Ellicott, one of the founders of Ellicott City. In 1836, it was sold to Judge John Snowden Tyson and his wife, Rachel.


Mt. Ida remained in the Tyson family until their daughter, Ida, died. It was sold in 1930 to Mr. and Mrs. Louis T. Clark, who lived there until 1959.


It was originally slated to be torn down and replaced with modern office buildings, but the plans were delayed for years until the Miller Land Co. bought and restored Mt. Ida to hold the offices of the Howard County News.


Today, Historic Ellicott City, Inc. operates tours out of this beautiful building.

Historic Ellicott City Building History

Cacao Lane

“Cacao Lane” 8066 Main Street


8066 Main Street is believed to have been built sometime around 1837 by Andrew McLaughlin who, at the time, was building the Patapsco Hotel.


Not long after it was built, 8066 Main Street was divided in two and sold to different people. In 1848, Ann Hunt acquired the east section. Ann Hunt’s daughter, Elizabeth Hunt, eventually owned the property on the east and her brother, Thomas Hunt, owned the west.


Elizabeth Hunt operated a Ladies Millinery Shop, which sold women’s accessories. Thomas Hunt, on the other hand, ran Hunt’s General Store out of the west side.


In the 1970’s, Cacao Lane Restaurant, an American Bar and Grill, opened on one side of the building. The owners eventually reunited the structure and restored it to what it is today. Through the years, Cacao Lane Restaurant has expanded their business into three bars, including an outdoor deck area (open seasonally), and a beautiful dinning room all while maintaining the historical integrity of the building.


Historic Ellicott City Building History

Ellicotts Country Store

“The Alexander Walker House” 8180 Main Street


The Alexander Walker House was built in the 1790’s as a private residence. However, as was customary of the time, travelers often visited and were not turned away, much to the chagrin of Mr. Walker, who was not fond of strangers. It is even rumored that, when he fell to his death from a second story window, a visitor whom Mr. Walker had quarreled with pushed him.


In 1864 land records show that an administrator of Mr. Walker’s estate sold the property. The Walker House went on to serve as several businesses including a bootery, tavern, headquarters for the Red Cross, and the offices of C&P Telephone Company.


In 1962, The Walker House became Ellicotts Country Store. Still operating today, Ellicotts Country Store is a great place to visit and explore. They offer a wide variety of vintage and new items that are a must have for anyone’s home!

Historical Ellicott City Building History

Howard House Pure Wine

“Howard House” 8202 Main Street

Present Day Howard House was built in 1842. For the first thirty years, the property changed hands several times. However, when Mr. and Mrs. Eckert purchased the property, they turned it into a restaurant. The restaurant became a prime eating and meeting spot for the people of 1890’s Ellicott City.


During their ownership, Mr. and Mrs. Eckert ran a successful restaurant that served amazing German food. The bar was located on the first floor and the dinning area was on the second floor.


The Eckert’s were so successful; they decided to build an addition in the 1890’s. This building became a larger dinning area that sat up to 150 people. It also was used as a venue that showed silent movies and wrestling matches in the evenings.


In 1921, the buildings were separated and sold to different people, but the door that once connected these two buildings remains.


Today, the 1890’s building holds Pure Wine Cafe, and the 1840’s building holds apartment buildings on the top floors, while the ground floor houses the Oriental Art Gallery and Pam Long Photography.

Historical Ellicott City Building History

The Firehouse Museum

“Howard County Fire Department – The Firehouse Museum” – 3829 Church Road


The Firehouse Museum, located on the corner of Church Road and Main Street, was built in 1896. Some of the original equipment housed in the first firehouse in Ellicott City included leather buckets and ropes.


Eventually, the equipment was upgraded to a pump was mounted on wheels. This may have been more efficient than buckets and ropes, but created problems for the firemen who had to either push or pull the wagon up and down Main Street.


Further improvements were made later on when a gasoline powered, two-wheeled truck was used, and this helped the firemen get to their locations faster and with little effort.


In 1924, the firehouse had purchased a new building and had acquired a new, modern, fire truck. After the move, several other county businesses were located in the building, including the Howard County Welfare Board, Sanitation, Health Department, and the first branch of the Howard County Library.


Today, the building holds the Ellicott City Firehouse Museum where visitors can take a trip through time and learn about the history of Howard County’s first firehouse.

Historic Ellicott City Building History


“Ellicott City Station”   – 2711 Maryland Ave.


The building that holds The Ellicott City Station in Historic Ellicott City dates back to the 1830’s. This railroad and station were built in response to the development of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which potentially could draw people away from Baltimore. The plan to build a railroad was a success and resulted in a 13-mile stretch of track extending from Ellicott City to Baltimore.


It was no secret that the railroad and canal developments were in competition with each other. This was further proved when Charles Carroll of Carrollton unearthed the first shovel of soil for railroad construction on July 4th, 1828; the same day construction began on the canal.


The beginnings of the construction of the railroad were not very cost effective or timely. However, progress continued and on May 24th, 1830 the inaugural ride from Ellicott City to Baltimore (then pulled by horses) was a success! Anyone who had 75 cents could make the hour and a half trek from Baltimore to Ellicott City, and in the first 30 days, the railroad brought in $1,000 a week.


Throughout the years, the railroad continued to move westward, and by 1852 it had beat the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal by stretching all the way to Wheeling, WV.


Today, the Ellicott City Station houses a B&O Railroad Museum that is open to the public. Visitors can go and learn about the history and explore the, mostly unchanged, station where the United States railroad began.


Historic Ellicott City Building History

The Patapsco Hotel

“The Patapsco Hotel” 8004 – 8026 Main Street

The Patapsco Hotel was rebuilt in 1930. The building that stands today at 8004 – 8026 Main Street was reconstructed using stones from the original Patapsco Hotel.


The original Patapsco Hotel was said to have a second story balcony that was built flush against the railroad track. This feature was designed to make entrance to the hotel easier for weary travellers. When the building was rebuilt in 1930, the balcony was not included.


The current building was designed to house apartments on the top two levels and storefronts on the bottom level. This is how it remains today.


The bottom level currently houses three businesses: The Archive Music & Games, Cotton Duck Art & Apparel, and Imperium.