Founded by three Quaker brothers—John, Joseph and Andrew Ellicott in 1772—Ellicott City was established as the base for a large flourmill. In 1830, it became the first station of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad outside of Baltimore. In 1867, a city charter was obtained for Ellicott Mills and the name was changed to Ellicott City. The city boundaries were redrawn in 1973 and it was designated a historic district to preserve the old buildings and encourage restoration. The B&O Railroad Station Museum, the Firehouse Museum and the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park are all located within the city boundaries and are wonderful places to explore the history and culture of America from Colonial times through the Industrial Age.
Ellicott City may well be one of the most haunted small towns on the east coast. Several historic properties are known for having years of strange and disturbing occurrences. Lilburn, Hayden House, and Mt. Ida are three old mansions with a reputation for paranormal activity. The ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute, which rests above the city, is now a historic park where it is said to be home to the ghost of a former student. These sites are part of the Haunted Ellicott City Ghost Tour.
Ellicott City is home to the Columbia Orchestra. Other theater and concert venues nearby in Howard County are the Olney Theatre Center for the Arts, the Wilde Lake Community Association-Slayton House and the Merriweather Post Pavilion.
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