B&O Train Station Museum
In 1972, Tropical Storm Agnes severely damaged Ellicott City and threatened the railroad station. Completed in 1831, it is the oldest surviving train station in America. The station and the railroad brought the city to prominence in the 19th Century. Citizens formed HEC and the Decorator Show House was started for the purpose of raising money to save and restore the station, as well as to acquire and restored a caboose, handcar, gang trailer, and speeder car. The station was restored and handed over to the County in 2006. Phase I: Plans are developed to restore the 1831 B & O Train Station ravaged by Hurricane Agnes (June 1972). HEC, Inc. hires architect Andy Cascio of PASA Engineers and Consultants. HEC, Inc. together with Howard County raised funds more than $140, 000 to complete this project through auctions, galas and donations. The agreement with the county is that the B & O Station will function as a museum under the direction of HEC, Inc. Phase II: Roof is restored. Interior is restored. Ribbon cutting in August 1976 for the opening of the museum and gift shop. Freight station houses model railroad exhibits. The museum is managed by HEC board member Sally Bright, with 25,000 visitors in the first year. We funded the production of a six projector “Sight and Sound” show at a cost of over $20,000 with help from the Ellicott City Rotary Club’s donation of $4,000 for projection equipment. Phase III: Exterior is completed, and caboose is restored.
Thomas Isaac Cabin
The Merryman Street (Thomas Isac) log cabin is presented to HEC, Inc. by owner, Mrs. Fannie Stanton, for the purpose of preserving it. The Merryman Street Log Cabin is the first meeting place of members and organizers of St. Luke’s AME Church. Dismantling of the cabin begins, and it is moved offsite and stored in climate-controlled area of Centennial Park until the county can find a suitable site. The county then finds the site and a groundbreaking occurs to reassemble the cabin in September 1985. Costs to HEC, Inc. are more than $140,000.
The George Ellicott House
The George Ellicott House was built in 1789 by the fourth son of Andrew and Elizabeth Ellicott. After the neighboring Jonathan Ellicott House was destroyed by Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972, preservationists looked for ways to spare the George Ellicott House the same fate. In 1989, a partnership including HEC, Inc., Charles Wagandt’s Oella Company, Judge John L. Clark and Senator James Clark embarks on the ambitious project of moving the house across Frederick Road to higher ground. The house is moved in one day in April 1987. Work continues on the interior restoration of the George Ellicott house under the direction of Jeffrey A. Lees architect and Azola contracting with HEC, Inc. support. George Ellicott House is completed in April 1991. Due to poor market conditions the George Ellicott House did not garner an owner or tenant. After a period of vacancy, the property was sold in a strange twist of fate to descendants of the Ellicott’s. Today, after the award-winning restoration, it continues in use as office space.
Mt. Gregory Church
Mt. Gregory United Method Church, founded in 1870 becomes the first recipient of a newly developed grant program, receiving $10,000 for a new well and its connection to service an ADA addition to the existing church. Mt. Gregory Church is one of the oldest African American congregations in Howard County being first established as a school for African American children. HEC implemented a grant program aimed at encouraging historic buildings and homes in Howard County to apply for small historic preservation grants as part of HEC’s mission to preserve and restore historic properties. While HEC’s focus is primarily in the Historic District of Ellicott City, we share our passion for preservation throughout the County. The inaugural recipient of this grant program was Mt. Gregory United Methodist Church in Glenwood/Cooksville. The Church received a $10,000 grant for expansion and preservation of their 1898 church. Mt. Gregory is one of the oldest African American congregations in Howard County.
This preservation project sought to completely restore Carrollton Hall, which was the home built by Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence for his granddaughter Emily Caton McTavish. This home is located on the grounds of Franciscan Friary in Ellicott City. HEC, Inc. donated $135, 000 towards this effort. In 2017, HEC made a gift of $50,000 for the principal exhibit room in Carrollton Hall, an historic building on the Friars’ property which was built by Charles Carroll and completed in 1832. In January 2014, Carrollton Hall, Inc. was formed for the purposes of restoring Carrollton Hall as a cultural heritage center, a building with great historical significance. Their mission is to strive through educational and other enrichment programs to bring visitors a greater appreciation of history, faith, citizenship, culture, and architecture. The acres on Folly Quarter Road were part of the historical property of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. A man of great faith and patriotism, his family’s heritage of religious tolerance played a major role in the design of our nation’s long tradition of religious freedom: besides signing the Declaration of Independence, he helped draft Maryland’s Declaration of Rights in 1776, and served as the first Senator from Maryland.
Howard House Hotel
As a result of the success of our 34th show house, Oakdale (May-June 2022) which we reported on in our fall newsletter, we made a sizable contribution to Ron Peters, owner of the Howard House, to support his restoration of the second floor balcony and iron work. Through Ron’s persistence the Howard House is now completely restored to its original 1850’s grandeur. He doggedly tracked down the matching grill work, employing local welder, Bill Knapp and other contractors to complete the task. He jumped through every bureaucratic hoop ever invented (including making 3,500 copies of required documents) to give this magnificent gift to our city. Historic Ellicott City, Inc. is more than proud to have contributed to Ron’s efforts. In November 2022 we celebrated with grant recipient, Ron Peters to unveil his spectacular restoration of the Howard House Hotel. HEC, Inc. was proud to help support Ron with a grant of $35,000. The Howard House now duplicates its stunning look from the 1850’s. History is indeed reborn.