Historic Ellicott City Walking Tour

1 – Log Cabin HO-64
Originally located on Merryman Street, it was the first meeting place of the organizers of St. Luke AME Church and thought to be from the early 1800’s, possibly older. This cabin was donated by Fannie Stanton to Historic Ellicott City, Inc. in the early 1980’s. It was then dismantled, stored until the county found a suitable site, where it was reassembled. The cabin was moved again in its entirety after the 2018 floods, and then brought back to its current location in 2020.

2 – Talbott Lumber HO341
Talbott Lumber was established in 1845 in Ellicott City by Edward Alexander Talbott, who owned the business for most of the 19th century. Talbott Lumber was originally located on the Baltimore County side of the Patapsco River where it was often flooded. In 1903 his son, also E.A. Talbott, rebuilt the business as a three-story building at 8308 Main Street. In 1908 the ownership passed to the brothers, Richard and Thomas Talbott. One of the brothers died in 1945 and the other sold the business to Nathan Holzweig. When Holzweig died in 1971 his sons-in-law, Benjamin Rosen and Milton Mazer took over. Rosen died in February 1991, and Milton closed the store in July 1991. [Information gathered from The Howard County Times, July 11, 1991.

3 – Disney’s Tavern (CA 1790) HO 82
Deborah Disney ran her tavern, a popular gathering place for men, on this site from 1840-1862. The building continued as a tavern thought the late 19th century. Later a fabric store, women’s boutique, and antique bookstore, it is one of the oldest and most historic landmarks of Ellicott City.

In 1887, a two-story frame print shop was situated on this site. In 1919, Scott Starr purchased the building for use as a funeral home, and also offered autos “for hire”. A new brick addition was added and the frame structure renovated. The building was later referred to as Starr Apartments, and has since been home to many different businesses.

Built by J. Shipley then twice auctioned. In 1879 sold to the Eckert’s who served such popular food that the hotel was later enlarged. The public was allowed to take a shortcut through the hotel which led them to the upper street and court house. Eckert knew they’d be enticed by the delicious aromas to dine there! Later converted to apartments.

6 – Walker Chandler House HO-69
Originally a private residence, this 3-1/2 story granite block structure is built into solid rock and on a slope such that the entire first floor forms the foundation. The building has housed Kinsey’s bookmaking shop, a tavern, the American Red Cross, C&P Telephone Offices and Yate’s Record Store. Ellicott’s Country Store was opened here in 1962 and is credited as the catalyst for the revitalization of the Ellicott City Historic District.

This building, originally a harness shop, was purchased by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1863 for approximately $2,000. It has been in continuous use by the Order ever since. Architecturally and historically significant, this 3-1/2 story, gabled-roof stone granite building is one of the few detached structures on Main Street.

8 – Patapsco National Bank HO-52
Built in the Neo-Colonial Style with doric columns and large squared corner stones for a sense of banking stability. Elegant interior was especially known for its attractive room for ladies, complete with fireplace, desks ” and adjoining toilet room.” It became the First National Bank before closing in the 1980’s.

9 – Hunt’s General Store (CA 1840) HO-88
Three homes, built in simple cut stone and frame style, on lots purchased in the 1834 lottery. In the 1840’s the Hunt siblings used the lower sections as a millinery shop and dry goods/grocery story, using the large display window. Later uses: a bar, pool hall, taxi stand. Cacao Lane Restaurant opened in 1974 after Hurricane Agnes Flood.

10 – Lauman House (CA 1800) HO-98
Among the oldest homes in EC, after the turn of the century owned by the Kraft’s, among others. After the 1972 flood, restored by Alda Baptiste Castaldi, who operated a specialty dress shop here for 30 years. Then during renovations for the Obladi (2010) the town’s first hotel since the 50’s, the original woodwork and mantelpieces were restored.

11 – Old Stone Tavern House HO-62
Originally owned by Thomas McCrea, by 1887 sewing machines and notions were sold here. Later home to Goldberg’s Store, among others, including Caplan’s Dept. Store during its 1925 renovations. Stucco was added to the 3-story brick and stone building after the 1972 flood. 

12 – Old Railroad Hotel HO-86
Built in 1847 by Andrew McLaughlin as a hotel for railroad men and originally consisted of some eighteen rooms, each of which had a fireplace. Over the years it, became a variety of retail businesses.

13 – The Patapsco Hotel HO-70
This stone building is 12 bays wide and 3 stories high. It replaced the original Patapsco Hotel, which was dismantled stone by stone, and this building created from its rubble. The old hotel’s wall section, windows and doors were retained, as well as its name. It was converted to apartments with 1st floor storefronts including a shoemaker shop.

14 – Baltimore & Frederick Turnpike Milestone 10
This milestone shows the distance, in miles, from the Baltimore courthouse to Ellicott City on the Baltimore and Frederick Turnpike, a toll road. The turnpike company was chartered in 1805 and the road was completed in 1818. The markers, made of Baltimore gneiss from the Ellicott City area, were placed at each mile during the initial construction of the turnpike

15 – George Ellicott House BA-602
This house was built in 1789 by George Ellicott, a Quaker, who was a miller, surveyor, merchant and astronomer. He was friend and advisor to America’s first black man of science, Benjamin Banneker, who visited here. He also entertained Chief Little Turtle and other Indian chiefs. Floods damaged the house in 1972 and 1975, but after stabilization, it was moved across the road to this site in 1987 and restored in 1990-91 under the auspices of Historic Ellicott City, Inc.

16 – B&O HO-71
The Baltimore and Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum is the oldest railroad station in America! The B&O Ellicott City Station Museum is the terminus of the first 13 miles of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Named for its point of origin, Baltimore, and its intended destination, the Ohio River, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was founded in 1827 as the first common carrier railroad in the United States. Passenger services to Ellicott City (then Ellicott’s Mills) began in May 1830.

Originally, horse-drawn rail cars were used to travel between Baltimore and Ellicott’s Mills. In August 1830, the B&O demonstrated the first American-built steam locomotive, known as the Tom Thumb, at Ellicott’s Mills.

Built in 1831, The Ellicott City station was originally designed as a freight depot. In 1857, the station was renovated to accommodate passengers. Although passenger service to Ellicott City ended in 1949, freight service continued until 1972, when it was closed to damage sustained in Hurricane Agnes. The station was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968.

Following its closure in 1972, the station was restored by Historic Ellicott City, Inc. Today, the Ellicott City Station Museum is managed by the Historic and Cultural Resources Section of the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. Source: Howard County Government

17 – The Phoenix Emporium HO-330
Long home to purveyors of libations, this lot, once owned by the family of cabinet makers Bernard Fort, was part of the 1834 land lottery. O’Brien’s Saloon, Fissell’s, Valmas Brothers Inn and the Phoenix Emporium have occupied this corner and proudly served patrons for over a century.

18 – Collier’s Grist Mill HO-83
A stone mill for processing grain through mid to late 1800’s. A wooden bridge was used to cross the Tiber to get to Main St. In the 1890’s, Herman Shriver formed a company with local investors to begin using the mill’s water power and steam to provide the first electric power and lights to the town. It became the Patapsco Light & Power Co plant about 1904.

19 – Young-Buzby-Jones (Great Panes) (CA 1860) HO-78-2
Originally owned by Thomas McCrea, by 1887 sewing machines and notions were sold here. Later home to Goldberg’s Store, among others, including Caplan’s Dept. Store during its 1925 renovations. Stucco was added to the 3-story brick and stone building after the 1972 flood. In 1980 Great Panes, an art glass studio, opened.

20 – TAYLOR’s (circa 1924)
After the 1915 fire, Irving Taylor built this new building, the fourth location for the business, which grew from jewelry and optometry to music boxes, then home appliances which at that time use motors powered by generators. In 1970, Marvin L. Sachs purchased this building from his uncle and operated Taylor’s Antique Mall for over 40 Years.

21 – Day-French-Puhl House (CA 1842) HO 313
Day, a master stone mason, purchased this lot from the Ellicotts and built this federal style home, one of the oldest brick structures in the district. Rear and side additions were made prior to 1887. Later it served as home to the French family for many years followed by the Puhl family beginning in 1957. It was restored during their tenure. In 1999 new owners carefully adapted it as Envy Salon. It is currently a private home once again.

22 – Tongue Row 3732 (Old Columbia Pike) HO-309,310-311
Tonge (or Tongue) Row was built in the 1840s, with one duplex completed each year by a widow, Ann Tonge. The three structures were built as rental units for Ellicottt City’s mill workers in Ellicott City. The buildings front Old Columbia Pike and are two stories on the road, with a walk-out bottom floor in the back. Each duplex side has an upper and lower door and a central chimney. The three lovely stone buildings reportedly have appeared in movies, such as the TV film Les Miserables in 2000 and the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

In 1905 SJ Yates opened his grocery store at 8247, formerly a home from the mid 1800’s. He used a model T truck to make free home deliveries. In 1925 he moved to his newly-constructed building at 8249. In 1938 his grandson, Bladen, opened a hardware store in the original building. The Yates family maintained these businesses for 4 generations.

24 – Old Main Street Post Office (Howard County Welcome Center) HO 752
Former site of the Hillsinger’s Undertaking Parlor (1800’s), a livery, wagon and carriage shop and blacksmith shop. In 1940 these buildings were torn down to construct a brick post office. In 1942, 21-year-old, Petro Paul D’Anna painted the murals which remain today. After serving as the Main Post Office for Ellicott City, it became the Welcome Center and Tourism office in 2011.

This building was erected in 1889 as the town’s first fire department. It served as a working fire station from that date until 1923. Subsequent usage included: Utilization as a meeting hall for the Mayor and City Council of Ellicott City; Offices of the Howard County Welfare Department, Sanitation Department, Health Department, and as a branch of the Howard County Public Library. In 1989 the building was restored to its original appearance and in 1991 opened as the Firehouse Museum.

Samuel Ellicott deeded this lot in 1837, and it is the fourth oldest Methodist Church in continuous use in the county. The stained glass and painted windows were added during renovations in 1887. The nickname derives from the pattern of the large round window. Union troops stationed in town, as well as those on their way to battle, worshipped here.

27 – Emory Street Jail HO-54
The Emory or Howard County Jail, known as Will Grove, was built in 1878. Executions by hanging took place between the jail and the Courthouse with local men as witnesses until 1916. In the early 1980’s a new detention center was added in Jessup, Maryland. The Sheriff’s department continued to use the building until 2022.

28 – Howard County Children’s Museum HO-285
Originally known as the Ellicott’s Second School, later as the Weir House.  Possibly used a hospital during the War of 1812 it was the second school established by the Ellicott’s. Used as a residence for many years thereafter, eventually becoming the home to the county commissioners and then to Planning and Zoning and finally to the Howard County States Attorney’s office.  It’s current use is a children’s museum operated by the Howard County Historical Society. 

29 – Museum of Howard County History HO 50
Formerly the 1st Presbyterian Church, built in 1844. Then rebuilt in cruciform design in 1894. The building was given to the Howard County Historical Society in 1958 by Alda Hopkins Clark in loving memory of her husband Judge James Clark for their headquarters. Today it is the Museum of Howard County History.

30 – Historic Howard County Courthouse HO 51
Howard County’s second courthouse, was designed and built of native granite between 1840 and 1843 high atop Capitoline Hill above Main Street in Ellicott City. It replaced the much smaller original first courthouse once located near Main Street and Ellicott Mills Drive. Renovated in 1980’s, it was closed permanently In 2022 when a brand-new facility was erected on Route 108.

31 – Mt. IDA HO 59
William Ellicott commissioned architect N. G. Starkweather and builder C. Timanus to build this home of rubble stone, stuccoed in old Maryland Gold. In the 1850’s. Home to Judge John Snowden Tyson, whose surviving maiden daughter Ida lived here until the 1920’s. Late home to the Louis T. Clark family of 13. Purchased by Charles Miller in the 1970’s and converted to offices. HEC, Inc. Decorator Show House in 1995 and 2013.

32 – Patapsco Female Institute HO 60
The stabilized ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute today is an historic park operated by Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks. The former school for young ladies ages 12-18 was opened on January 1, 1837 with the arrival of a few students, including Maryland State scholars. Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps was the third principal from 1841-1846. She was a distinguished author of textbooks on Chemistry, Botany and Biology as well as novels. The study of sciences was groundbreaking for young women at that time.

The school closed in 1890 and become a private home, then a hotel called Burg Alnwick, and finally a summer theater called “Hilltop Theatre”. The last owner deeded the building to his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati. In the 1960’s a preservation group, the Friends of the PFI fought to establish the site and tell the history of the school.