Howard County Historical Society

Howard County Historical Society EMAIL: [email protected]


MAILING ADDRESS: HCHS, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042 The largest private repository of images, maps, artifacts and archival materials related to the history of Howard County.

MUSEUM HOURS: Friday, Saturday & Sundays 1:00PM- 5:00 PM

LIBRARY HOURS: Mondays & Tuesdays 1:00 - 8:00 PM

Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Saturdays 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Sundays CLOSED

MUSEUM HOURS: Friday, Saturday & Sundays 1:00PM- 5:00 PM

LIBRARY HOURS: Mondays & Tuesdays 1:00 - 8:00 PM

Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Saturdays 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Sundays CLOSED

Operating as usual

Our Director Shawn Gladden working with four volunteers on a new exhibit in the library. Come by next week to see what t...

Our Director Shawn Gladden working with four volunteers on a new exhibit in the library. Come by next week to see what they created.

Our Director Shawn Gladden working with four volunteers on a new exhibit in the library. Come by next week to see what they created.

Photos from B&O Railroad Museum's post

Photos from B&O Railroad Museum's post


The BMI’s outdoor exhibit “Women Of Steel” has received the 2021 AASLH Award of Excellence.

This exhibit, which highlights the experiences of Women Steel workers at the Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Mill, explores themes such as equal pay, dangerous workplace conditions, & childcare— themes that remain relevant today.

“Women of Steel” is currently on display along the museum’s fence, facing Key Highway. To learn more about the exhibit visit

(American Association for State and Local History)

Tomorrow night, Comedy in the Courtyard!  A GREAT way to spend a Friday night in Old Ellicott City.
Simone Chifforobe on TikTok

Tomorrow night, Comedy in the Courtyard! A GREAT way to spend a Friday night in Old Ellicott City.

Fri, 6/25, 8pm -Ellicott Silly Comedy Festival #standupcomedy #dadsoftiktok @savoysworld2 @olmikeb757

Photos from Howard County Recreation and Parks's post

Photos from Howard County Recreation and Parks's post

Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos

THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT...Have you attended one of our Green Mount Cemetery walking tours? This Friday June 25, 10:30 - 1 p.m., we are giving a members-only walking tour guided by MCHC President & CEO Mark Letzer. Stroll along winding paths as the Victorians once did and then enjoy a picnic box lunch at Green Mount's crest as you take in its view of the city.

Just a few spots remain and registration is required:

Not a member? Now is a great time to join and take advantage of exclusive member programs like this one:

Image: Entrance Gateway to Greenmount Cemetery. Edward Weber & Co., lithograph, c. 1851. Maryland Center for History and Culture.



The winners of our Paint It! Ellicott City 2021 awards were announced at our virtual reception on Friday night. In case you missed it, here’s a list of the award winners:

Juror’s Awards, presented by Lynn Mehta:
Gino Award, $1,000 - Michael Kotarba, Water Like Wine
Gino Award, $1,000 - Rajendra KC, Little Market Cafe
2nd Place, $900 - Erin Pryor Gill, Rainy Day at Frederick Rd.
3rd Place, $800 - Marita Hines, Flowers for Sale
4th Place, $700 - Nish*ta Jain, Trolley Trail Walk
5th Place, $600 - Christine Rapa, A Sunday Kind of Love
40th Anniversary Award, $400 - Jane Knighton, Peaceful Pond
Honorable Mention, $150 - Tom Ritchie, Rainy Day Lunch Bunch
Honorable Mention, $150 - J. Stacy Rogers, Down Main Street
Honorable Mention, $150 - Bruno Baran, Through a Rainy Windshield: Babe Ruth’s Church
Honorable Mention, $150 - Kathleen Kotarba, Built to Last

AARP Maryland Awards:
AARP Juried Artist Award - Amanda Milliner, Meet Me at the Cafe
AARP Open Paint Award - Moonjoo Lee, Where the Reflection Lies

Patapsco Heritage Greenway Award:
Best Depiction of the Patapsco - Kathleen Gray Farthing, Rush

Blossoms of Hope Award:
Best Depiction of Nature - Nish*ta Jain, Trolley Trail Walk

Carole Zink Open Paint Award - Andrea Naft, Reunion in Ellicott City

HCAC Director’s Choice Open Paint Awards:
40th Anniversary Open Paint Award - Ronaldo Dorado, Running Wild
Honorable Mention - Barbara Kern-Bush, Ellicott City Fire House
Honorable Mention - Collin Cessna, Chalks on Main Street
Youth Art Award - Henry Kigin, Mr. Blue House

Congratulations to all!

Paint It! awards were made possible through the generous support of these sponsors: The Manelli Family, AARP of Maryland, Blossoms of Hope, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, and the Family of Carole Zink.

We'd also like to thank our media and hospitality sponsor, Visit Howard County, as well as our juried and community artists; juror Lynn Mehta; Ellicott City’s Main Street business community; and our Paint It! spectators for helping to make this event such a success. We hope to see all of you again next year!

Our Paint It! Ellicott City 2021 juried exhibition is on view at the Center for the Arts through August 7. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Thursday 10am-8pm and Saturday 10am-4pm. The exhibit is also available to view online at

An exhibit of work by our Open Paint artists is on display at the Howard County Welcome Center through July 24 and can also be viewed online at

Pictured: Little Market Cafe by Rajendra KC, winner of the Gino Award (photo by Dan J. Goodrich)


Limited space is still available for June's Ellicott City Historic Walking Tour!
Learn the amazing history of our 250 year old town from our expert guide, from the arrival of the Ellicott brothers to the Civil War and beyond.
Tour starts at 11 AM- Register here:


We are pleased to announce the winner of the Best Depiction of the Patapsco Valley as part of Howard County Arts Council's Paint It! event: Kathleen Gray Farthing's Rush. We were particularly taken with the artist’s ability to capture both a sense of calm combined with the forcefulness and energy of the Patapsco River. The painting invites the viewer into a lush space that captures nature’s power and solitude. One imagines the RUSH of the river as part of a multi-sensory experience.

Photos from Historic Ellicott City, Inc.'s post

Photos from Historic Ellicott City, Inc.'s post

Photos from Preservation Maryland's post

Photos from Preservation Maryland's post

Photos from EC250's post

Photos from EC250's post

Photos from Reginald F. Lewis Museum's post

Photos from Reginald F. Lewis Museum's post


In observation of the Juneteenth Holiday, the Howard County Historical Society, located at the Miller Branch Library, will be closed tomorrow, June 18.

From our good friends at Historic Ellicott City, Inc.
The Show Your House Room Challenge - Historic Ellicott City

From our good friends at Historic Ellicott City, Inc.


Join Zoom Meeting: June 17, 2021 at 5:30pm

Meeting ID: 868 9124 2120
Passcode: ShowHouse

Or if you only have voice (you are going to want images though! they are spectacular!):
Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
Meeting ID: 868 9124 2120
Passcode: 488847671

Historic Ellicott City, Inc. (HEC) presents "SHOW YOUR HOUSE" Live Presentations by HEC’s Show House Designers. A monthly virtual series presenting show house designers addressing the design challenges that YOU have in YOUR home! THE SHOW YOUR HOUSE ROOM CHALLENGE

The Flag House: Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner - Preservation Maryland
The Flag House: Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner - Preservation Maryland

The Flag House: Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner - Preservation Maryland

The flag that inspired America’s national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, was sewn in a small brick house in Baltimore City—and that building still stands. The Flag House dates back to 1793 and was the home and place of business of Mary Young Pickersgill. Starting in 1807 when Pickersgill and ...


Benjamin Banneker observed an annular eclipse around sunrise from Washington D.C. 230 years ago on April 3rd, 1791, while working on the survey for the new Federal City. The geometry for the path of that eclipse was similar to that seen today, June 10th 2021, but with the central path further North today, as shown in comparison images from the canon of solar eclipses by Fred Espenak. Some folks in Canada today may catch a view very much like Banneker had in 1791. We hope they capture some nice images to share. From here the solar eclipse will be partial and ending at sunrise, but the occurrence gives us pause to think about his view and observations back then.

JUNE Membership Drive for the Howard County Historical Society (HCHS)!We would like to thank everyone who follows and su...
Membership - Howard County Historical Society

JUNE Membership Drive for the Howard County Historical Society (HCHS)!

We would like to thank everyone who follows and supports the Historical Society on our Social Media pages. We have worked hard this past year to support the community through expanded virtual access to our resources, exhibits, and programs. In addition to collecting and preserving documents, photographs, and artifacts from Howard County's past, engaging and educating the public is a key part of our mission.

Every June, we conduct our Annual Membership Drive to renew memberships and reach out to potential NEW members. We strive to provide a range of membership benefits that will appeal to Howard Countians from the casual local history buff to families and students to researchers, historians, and teachers.

We are excited to announce the following HCHS benefits for this year:

* FREE research services from our staff at the state-of-the-art Archives & Historical Center at the Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, Md 21042.

* NEW BENEFIT Members-only access to expanded digital resources through the Member Portal on our updated and redesigned website - (The Online Yearbook Collection and back issues of our quarterly newsletter ‘The Legacy’ were recently uploaded. Additional digital content will be made available soon.)

* 10% discount on all publications and items offered in our Gift Shop, including original work by local artisans, and a 15% discount on all HCHS logo items.

* Quarterly delivery of ‘The Legacy’ - available in print or via email.

GIFT MEMBERSHIP SPECIAL: $65 (an $85 value) includes a Single Membership + one of the following books:
‘Images of America’ (Catonsville, Columbia, Howard County or Ellicott City); or
‘America's First Factory Town’ by Hal Sharp.

The Howard County Historical Society also has sponsorship opportunities for individuals and companies. All Bronze-, Silver-, and Gold-level sponsors are acknowledged in our quarterly newsletter and enjoy additional benefits with their tax-deductible sponsorship.

As an organization, we rely on the support of our members and strive to support them in return. We have improved our online resources and transferred our very popular public events & lecture programs to a virtual format - accessible through our website and via our social media pages. With membership, you will get Members-only access to each of these programs through direct transmission of email links, so please make sure that we have a current and correct email address for you and/or your family.

You can easily complete the membership application online ( and join the Historical Society today. Stay tuned - exciting events are in the works for the rest of 2021 and for next year's big EC250 celebration.

About HCHS Membership Click on a membership level to learn more about cost and benefits. Join/Renew Online Join/Renew PDF Form Student Membership Learn More Individual Membership Learn More Gift Membership Learn More Family Membership Learn More Bronze Membership Learn More Silver Membership Learn M...

Just uploaded to our YouTube page.  Oral History Interview with Beaula Moore, 10/22/20.  Interview was conducted by Joan...
Beaula Moore interview 720p movie

Just uploaded to our YouTube page. Oral History Interview with Beaula Moore, 10/22/20. Interview was conducted by Joan Carter-Smith and Wayne Davis of the Friends of the Guilford Historic District. Produced by Tyrone Tyler of the Howard County African American History Project.

Oral History interview with Beula Moore, 2020Interviewers: Joan Carter and Wayne DavisProducer: Tyrone TylerPart of an Oral History Partnership with Guilfor...

The GREAT Summer Used Book Sale is in full effect at the Museum of Howard County History.  We have LOTS of new titles do...

The GREAT Summer Used Book Sale is in full effect at the Museum of Howard County History. We have LOTS of new titles donated in all genres. Starting at $0.25 there are GREAT buys in here.


From Our Past!
Today marks the birthday of Mary Hannah Hanchett Hunt

Many of the graduates of the Patapsco Female Institute went on to become teachers and noted citizens. One of these students was
Mary Hannah Hanchett Hunt – June 4, 1830 - April 24, 1906

Known in her day as the woman who appeared before more legislative bodies than any other person; helped to develop and legislate the Eighteenth Amendment which put Prohibition into effect in the United States.

Mary entered the Patapsco Female Institute as a student. Following her graduation in 1852, she became a professor of natural sciences at Patapsco, during which time she began her lifetime study of the physiological effects of alcohol on the body and mind.

Her quest was to educate but to also make the evils of alcohol aware even to children. She said that her goal was to produce "from the schoolhouses all over the land... trained haters of alcohol to pour a whole Niagra of ballots upon the saloon."

She is mentioned and quoted in the Ken Burns PBS program on Prohibition. While citing the true information about the dangers of alcohol, it also talks about the lurid and untrue “facts” they gave about it that were taught to 22 million students in public school.

Our favorite - Alcohol could cause “Spontaneous Combustion bursting suddenly into fatal blue flame”!

The Eighteenth Amendment is often traced back to the influence that Mary Hunt had on schoolchildren. Though Mary Hunt died before its enactment in 1920, her life work helped bring into law the prohibition of the manufacturing, sale and consumption of alcohol in the United States which lasted from 1920 to 1933.

Babe Ruth's Baltimore Beginnings - Preservation Maryland
Babe Ruth's Baltimore Beginnings - Preservation Maryland

Babe Ruth's Baltimore Beginnings - Preservation Maryland

Did you Know? Babe Ruth, then George Herman Ruth, Jr., was born in Pigtown in Baltimore City on February 6, 1895. That house still stands and is now the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, and there are many more Baltimore locations important to this Hall-of-Famer’s early life. The Beginning of a Leg...


Please join us in remembering Howard County Police Officer Randolph "Randy" Brightwell Sr. who was shot and killed 60 years ago today as he was conducting a routine traffic stop on Fels Lane in Ellicott City.
Accompanied by his K-9 partner Prince, Officer Brightwell stopped a car for a loud muffler, unaware the two men in the car had just robbed and killed the owner of a gas station. During the stop the men attacked Officer Brightwell, killing him with his own gun. Both suspects were captured a short time later. They were subsequently convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for life.
Officer Brightwell was 33 years old and the father of two small children. After joining the HCPD in 1957, he became one of the first K-9 handlers for any county police agency in the state of Maryland. In his honor, the police department posthumously awarded him its highest commendation, the Medal of Honor. Brightwell Drive at the county office complex was named in his honor in 1975.


9421 Frederick Rd
Ellicott City, MD

General information

MUSEUM LOCATION: 8328 Court Avenue Ellicott City, MD 21043 ARCHIVE & RESEARCH LIBRARY LOCATION: Charles E. Miller Branch Library and Historical Center 9421 Frederick Road Ellicott City, MD 21042 MAILING ADDRESS: Howard County Historical Society 9421 Frederick Road Ellicott City, MD 21042

Opening Hours

Monday 1pm - 8pm
Tuesday 1pm - 8pm
Wednesday 1pm - 5pm
Thursday 1pm - 5pm
Friday 1pm - 5pm
Saturday 1pm - 5pm


(410) 480-3250


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Ellicott Silly Comedy Festival presents Comedy in the Courtyard 6 on June 25th Learn More or Get Tickets Here:
Bob Ford (the man on the left) has been a long-time LGBTQ advocate for over 40 years. As a member of the PFLAG-Howard County Advocacy Committee, he and others lobbied elected officials on the need to pass marriage equality and transgender non-discrimination legislation. He served on the HoCo Pride Steering Committee and currently is a member of the County Executive’s LGBTQ Workgroup. He sat on the Board of Directors for what is now called the Pride Center of Maryland and wrote articles and took photos for the Baltimore Gay Paper and Baltimore OUTloud. Bob serves on the County’s Human Rights Commission where he was Chair for two years. He serves on COVE—the Coalition Opposing Violence and Extremism. He has been active in local Democratic politics for many years. Bob, who is retired from Verizon, is married to Steve Charing since 2009 and have been together since 1980. They live in Clarksville since 1994. Steve Charing (the man on the right) has been an advocate for and a journalist covering LGBTQ rights for over four decades. Along with being a reporter and columnist, he had been the editor of two local LGBTQ publications. As a member of PFLAG-Howard County, he served on the Advocacy Committee to promote marriage equality and rights for transgender individuals and was the chapter’s media coordinator for several years. Steve also served on the HoCo Pride Steering Committee, which executed an ultra-successful Pride event in 2019. Steve has retired from the Social Security Administration and lives with his husband in Clarksville.
I created a new Facebook group, Howard County, MD Memories of Days Past-Its Beginnings To Recent Past, and I hope you will join and invite your friends! The group is a place to share photos, memories and stories about Howard County life of days past. Posts could contain "Do you remember?" questions/photos so others can respond and memories about what life was like when you or your descendants lived in Howard County as a child or an adult. It will be lots of fun to reminisce and so interesting to learn more about Howard County!
Howard County’s First School Truant Officer, A Woman? While viewing records, I come across many things. Thought this would interest some folks.. the 1916 story about a woman becoming the county’s school Attendance Officer. Miss S. Elizabeth Meade was nominated at the August 17, 1916 school board special session by Superintendent Phillips. After a majority voted down the proposition, “upon the ground that Miss Meade was a woman”, a man was nominated and rejected before another was nominated and accepted. At the next regular session on Sept 5th, a letter was read to the board from State Superintendent Dr. M. Bates Stephens regarding his “failure to approve” the Attendance Officer they selected. One can only wonder what was in that letter, for county Supt. Phillips once again nominated Miss Meade, and the decision for her appointment miraculously changed to a unanimous one! Her salary would be $800 plus expenses. Readers may be entertained to hear about the Ford Touring car purchased by the county school board in 1916. On October 3, 1916, the Board took note of their receipt of the car, and that the bill of $378.40 would be paid. Liability insurance was also discussed and approved. On October 17th, Miss Meade was again a subject in the school board meeting, as was the Touring Car. She was having problems cranking the car to start it, so the board authorizes a self-starter to be installed on it for her. She was still around in 1919, noted then to be Elizabeth Meade Poisal. An “Irene B Meade” was noted on the letterhead to be clerk for the board. Elizabeth was married to James Poisal, noted on the 1920 census to be a chemist at a “US Laboratory”. William Meade, possibly her father, had a daughter Irene who was listed as the school board stenographer...but she was listed to be only 19 years old and single on the 1920 census. Mary E Meade, listed as William’s granddaughter, was reported to be 3 1/2 years old. If Mary was the stenographer’s daughter, she was 15-16 when she gave birth to her. Known by her other title, the census taker labeled Elizabeth as “truant officer” for the schools. Both women still had those jobs as of 1922, as noted in the letterhead. A local history moment I found interesting. Maybe you do also? *Image of car ad was found on the Flickr site posted, and the school records are from our county Board of Education. FamilySearch image reveals that source.
Someone refresh my memory -- what year did HCHS start using the Weir Building for the archives?
Here is a mini post I wanted to share. Enjoy!
In 1954 there was a flurry of activity to finish the Enchanted Forest in time for it's August 15th 1955 opening. Here we see the entrance castle being built to accept the thousands of visitors in it's first season alone. For this and much more, I invite you to join my group:
Researching the old Clark Family Farm on Roxbury Road. There's a cemetery there -- "Gilpin alias Pressley" reserve family graveyard. Anyone know about those names?
Does anyone have any information on the family trees for James Woods ,Nancy (Toll) Wood last of the Talbot street pioneers ,and Gawin Craig or Jane Scott. These are our relatives who passed away in the 18 hundreds.
For many of us, our very first cruise was Little Toot at the Enchanted Forest. We couldn't wait for the tour around the lake and going under Mt. Vesuvius. (later avoided as the mountain had been slowly sinking over the years) For this and much more, I invite you to join my group:
Does anyone happen to know when the iron bridge next to the Miller Branch library was built? I don’t see many iron bridges so I was just curious! It’s a gorgeous view this time of year.
Great News! Today we wrapped up filming "A Different Kind of Song: The March of Black Women and the Unsung Stories of Black Women Composers." Thanks to an extraordinary groundbreaking collaboration between the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAPPA) "Bringing Color to the Classics!" and the Museum of Howard County History at the Howard County Historical Society in Historic Ellicott City, Maryland. Stay tuned for the virtual streaming, a tour de force in creative storytelling through the lens of history, culture, and music. Airing Sunday, November 1, 2020 from 4-5 pm on the CAAPA facebook and youtube pages. All the performances are exquisitely presented at the Museum of Howard County History. Click! and Note: In partnership with Howard County Historical Society, ASALH Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and Maryland Humanities. #music #museums #history #culture #concerts #storytelling #classicalmusic #spiritualmusic #artsandhumanities #communityoutreach #creativityatwork #artists #blackwomencomposers #blacksuffragettes #blackexcellence #gamechanginglives #blackgirlmagic #collaborations #partnerships #arts 2020 video c Denée Barr All Rights Reserved