I live near historic Main Street Ellicott City -- a quaint old milltown main street lined with boutique and antique stores and some well-respected restaurants in old stone buildings.
In 1772, three Quaker brothers from 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. 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.
When the kids were little, we frequently visited B&O Museum. The Ellicott City Station is the oldest surviving railroad station in America and the site of the original terminus of the first 13 miles of commercial track ever constructed in America. In the 1970s the station was restored as a museum and a second restoration in 1999 returned the building to its 1857 appearance. 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. The site interprets the story of transportation and travel in early America through seasonal exhibits, education programs and living history programs. According to the Haunted Ellicott City Ghost Tours, several ghosts haunt the old building.
By 1861, Ellicott's Mills was a prosperous farming and manufacturing area. At the start of the Civil War in May 1861, Union troops seized a Winans Steam Gun en route to Harpers Ferry at Ellicott Mills. The experimental gun was used to guard the Thomas Viaduct for the remainder of the war. On July 10, 1864, Federal troops under the command of General Lew Wallace retreated down the National Pike (now U.S. 40) 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, perhaps accounting for why there are so many purported hauntings within the mile-long main street.
* The historic main street of Ellicott City, that is.
For more about Ellicott City's ghosts, check out: http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/06/ellicott-city-ghost-tour-little-bit-of.html
Getting There: There is street parking available along the entire main street but there's also a parking lot on the upper end of Main Street, near the Howard County Visitor's Center. On the lower end, there's limited parking near the Railroad Museum. Bring quarters or credit cards, because most of the parking is metered.
Dogs: Yes for the ghost walk and Old Trollyline hike, or just walking up and down the street; no for boutique shopping, fine dining, or bar-hopping. During warm weather, some restaurants allow well-behaved dogs to dine with their owners in the outdoor tables. Call ahead to confirm.
Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger!