Ellicott City, Maryland: Wikis


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Ellicott City, Maryland
—  CDP  —
Main Street, Ellicott City Historic District
Location of Ellicott City, Maryland
Coordinates: 39°16′5″N 76°47′56″W / 39.26806°N 76.79889°W / 39.26806; -76.79889
Country United States
State Maryland
County Howard
 - Total 32.1 sq mi (83.1 km2)
 - Land 32.0 sq mi (83.0 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 180 ft (55 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 56,397
 - Density 1,760.9/sq mi (679.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 21041-21043
Area code(s) 410, 443
FIPS code 24-26000
GNIS feature ID 0584282

Ellicott City is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Howard County, Maryland, United States. The population was 56,397 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Howard County.[1] Founded in 1772, the town features the B&O Railroad Museum Ellicott City Station, built in 1830, and a downtown historic district which is a very popular destination among antiques shoppers, with restaurants, eclectic boutique shops, coffee shops, a tea room and many historic sites. As of the 2000 Census, Ellicott City surpassed Towson, Maryland, as the largest unincorporated county seat in the country.

Ellicott City is listed amongst America's most affluent communities and is located in Howard County, the third wealthiest county in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau.[2] Since 2005, Ellicott City has been ranked three times among the top 20 Best Places to Live in the United States by Money and CNNMoney.com.[3][4][5]

The downtown area is often called "Historic Ellicott City" or "Old Ellicott City", to distinguish it from the unincorporated area that extends north to the Baltimore County line, south to Columbia, and west to West Friendship.



In 1772, three Quaker brothers from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, chose the picturesque wilderness, upriver from Elk Ridge Landing (known today as Elkridge, Maryland) to establish a flour mill. John, Andrew, and Joseph Ellicott founded Ellicott's Mills, which became one of the largest milling and manufacturing towns in the East.

Thomas Isaac Log cabin, Named after a 19th century owner, the cabin was believed to have been built circa 1780 by an early Ellicott's Mills settler. Located at west end of Ellicott City's Main Street, tourists can learn about the history of Ellicott's Mills from authentically costumed historians.

The Ellicott brothers helped revolutionize farming in the area by persuading farmers to plant wheat instead of tobacco and also by introducing fertilizer to revitalize depleted soil. Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and wealthy landowner, was an early influential convert from tobacco to wheat.

In 1830, Ellicott's Mills became the first terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad outside Baltimore. The station, built of huge blocks of locally quarried granite, stands today as a living history museum, and has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. It bears the designation as the "Oldest surviving railroad station in America". The famous race between Peter Cooper's iron engine, the Tom Thumb, and a horse-drawn carriage took place at Relay on the return trip from Ellicott's Mills in August 1830. Even though the horse won the race due to a broken drive belt, steam engines steadily improved, and the railroad became a vital link in the town's economy.

By 1861, Ellicott's Mills was a prosperous farming and manufacturing area. The site of the courthouse, which was built from 1840-1843 when the Howard District of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, was so designated in 1839. Howard County, Maryland, became an official independent jurisdiction in 1851. On July 10, 1864 Federal troops under the command of General Lew Wallace retreated down the National Pike from the Battle of Monocacy to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Ellicott's Mills station. Homes and churches in Ellicott's Mills were temporarily used as hospitals for the Union wounded. In 1867, a city charter was secured for Ellicott's Mills, and the name was changed to "Ellicott City". The only chartered city in the county, Ellicott City lost its charter in 1935 and was designated an historic district by the county in 1973. Ellicott City today serves as the county seat for Howard County.

Historic flood stages marked on the B&O viaduct. Hurricane Agnes flood stage (14½ feet) is in the middle of the photograph.

In the early summer of 1972, the downtown Main Street area was extensively flooded by Hurricane Agnes; the Ellicott brothers' house on the mill property was also destroyed. A more severe flood in 1868 wiped most early industry from the valley, but spared the flour mill.

Historic Main Street has also been the site of several devastating fires, most notably in November 1984 and again on November 9, 1999. The former was started by Leidig's Bakery's faulty air conditioning unit and destroyed six buildings; the latter, a 6-alarm blaze which destroyed five businesses and caused an estimated $2 million in damage, was accidentally started behind a restaurant by a discarded cigarette.

The Ellicott City area was the home to the fairy tale-themed amusement park known as the Enchanted Forest. The park has been closed to the general public since the early 1990s, and a shopping center (called the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center) was built on its parking lot. Many of the attractions have been moved to Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, where they are being restored. The Enchanted Forest was featured in the 1990 John Waters-directed film Cry-Baby, starring Ricki Lake and Johnny Depp. Clark's Elioak Farm is a petting zoo/farm that is open to the public during the summer.

Ellicott City has been called one of the most haunted small towns on the east coast. The Howard County Tourism Council runs a Ghost Tour that visits several places with reputations for paranormal activity.[6] Among these are the mansions Lilburn, Hayden House, and Mt. Ida; the B&O railroad bridge that crosses over Main Street in the center of the town; the old Ellicott City Firehouse; and the Patapsco Female Institute. Proud Ellicott City residents use this haunted history to bring their small town into the spotlight.


Ellicott City is located at 39°16′5″N 76°47′56″W / 39.26806°N 76.79889°W / 39.26806; -76.79889 (39.26806, 76.79889).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 32.1 square miles (83.1 km²), of which, 32.0 square miles (83.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.19%) is water.

Like Rome, Ellicott City is claimed to be built on seven hills. These hills lie southeast of the Historic District, which is on the banks of the Patapsco River. Continuing the Rome analogy, the small tributary of the Patapsco that forms the narrow valley followed by Main Street is named the Tiber River.

Culture and attractions


As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 56,397 people, 20,250 households, and 15,288 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,760.9 people per square mile (679.8/km²). There were 20,789 housing units at an average density of 649.1/sq mi (250.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 78.33% White, 7.34% African American, 0.15% Native American, 11.90% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 1.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.14% of the population.

There were 20,250 households out of which 41.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.3% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.

According to a 2007 estimate,[9] the median income for a household in the CDP was $103,464, and the median income for a family was $120,064. Males had a median income of $63,938 versus $41,721 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $29,287. About 2.2% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

At the federal level, Ellicott City is part of Maryland's 7th congressional district, which is represented by Democrat Elijah Cummings, elected in 1996. The state's senior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Barbara Mikulski, elected in 1986. The state's junior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Ben Cardin, elected in 2006.

Education and schools

There are twelve public high schools that serve the Ellicott City area:

All of the above are part of the Howard County Public School System.

While these public schools are available in the area, Glenelg Country School is also located in Ellicott City. Families who elect not to attend public school in the area typically send their children to private schools such as: Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, Mount Saint Joseph in Baltimore, Loyola Blakefield in Towson, and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney.

Notable people

  • Benjamin Banneker, the African-American self-educated scientist, astronomer, inventor, writer, and antislavery publicist was born in Ellicott's Mills, November 9, 1731.
  • James A. Clark, president of the Maryland State Senate from 1979 to 1983
  • Divine briefly rented an apartment in Ellicott City as a young adult in the summer of 1968.[10]
  • Thomas Watkins Ligon, 30th Governor of Maryland, died in Ellicott City in 1881 and is buried at St. John's Cemetery.
  • Suzanne Malveaux, CNN reporter, went to high school in Ellicott City.
  • Aaron Maybin, professional football player for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League.
  • Babe Ruth, baseball player, was married in Ellicott City to Helen Woodford on October 17, 1914.
  • Ryan Aiken, a contestant on Survivor: The Amazon, listed Ellicott City as his hometown on his Survivor application.
  • Brendan Mundorf, Professional Lacrosse player for the Denver Outlaws.
  • The Dangerous Summer (band), Band.


External links

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