Monday, November 20, 2017

Baltimore to Frederick town turnpike milestone - 10 M to B

The 10 mile marker stone, on lower Main Street under the railroad bridge, is testament to the Ellicott brothers who built a road from Baltimore to their new settlement of Ellicott's mills.  When the turnpike was financed it went from Baltimore through Ellicott Mills to Frederick to Cumberland and joined the National Road.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Covered turnpike bridge and trolley bridge at Ellicott Mills

A circa 1909 photograph shows the trolley bridge (on the left) and the covered bridge (for the road) crossing over the Patapsco to Baltimore County.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Bloede Dam - Power plant inside a dam

The first hydroelectric plant within a dam was built just south of Ilchester and Ellicott City on the Patapsco River in 1907. The underwater plant has windows behind the falls, so during rain when the "water is muddy" less light gets into the room.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Commodore Joshua Barney home

The Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veteran's home has been vacant and has been on the Howard County top ten endangered sites.  It is hidden behind a subdivision at 7912 Guilford Road, Savage.  The house was sold at auction last month. The famed naval officer was born in Baltimore and went to sea at age 12.  During the War of 1812 he was assigned to protect the Chesapeake area, and he devised a fleet of shallow draft barges.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Howard County iron ore deposts; Elkridge and Savage furnaces

Elkridge Furnace (1750s-1872) and Savage Furnace (before 1835-c1839; 1864-74) are described below, as well as 6 ore banks found in Howard County.  Pictured at left are the remains of Elkridge Furnace in early 1900s.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Duc de La Rochefoucauld's visit to Ellicott's mills in the 1790s

"Ellicot’s-Mill is a small village, the principal establishment of which is a large gristmill belonging to Mr. Ellicot.  This mill has six pair of millstones, and is constructed as well as any of the mills of Brandy wine [Lea mills]."

François Alexandre Frédéric de La Rochefoucauld, Duke of Rochefoucauld (1747-1827) escaped France during the Revolution for England then sailed to America, finally returning to France.

Monday, September 25, 2017

B&O train ride described in Harpers 1857


By 1857 the B&O railroad had a kitchen and dining car combo but the restaurant in the Relay House (in picture) still offered a breakfast of "Maryland luxuries" of "softcrabs" and "spring-chickens" which tasted like "luscious flavor of solidified cream browned over a hickory fire in clover scented butter."  The article also described the stone viaducts, Bollman's iron bridge, granite and iron works.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Howard County in 1882

The second smallest county in Maryland, Howard County was described in the 1882 book Industries of Maryland, in particular Ellicott City (population 1,600) and Elk Ridge Landing (400). Among the attributes were the several "streams" providing waterpower, limestone, granite quarries, iron ore and good soil. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

George Poe, artificial respirator, laughing gas and Elkridge

George Poe, Jr. (1846-1914) was born at 'Elkridge Landing', was a cousin of Edgar Allen Poe and invented the artificial respirator (patented in 1907). He also was the first to liquefy nitrous oxide - laughing gas - for commercial use in the 1880s, and other gas 'firsts' (see below). According to his Washington Post obituary, he was mentioned for a Nobel Prize in chemistry.


Poe was the son of Elizabeth Ross Ellicott (1810-1881) and George Poe (1808, or 1807-1879).

Monday, September 4, 2017

Lafayette in Elkridge

In April 1781 the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) and his soldiers were guarding the Chesapeake area, but were ordered to join the forces heading south to eventually be in Yorktown for the final battle against the British in Oct. 1781.  To lighten their mood and decrease desertions Lafayette had the men ride in wagons through Maryland and crossed the Patapsco River to camp at "Ridge Ferry" - Elkridge - on April 17 to 18.

"Lafayette's troops camped here April 17-18, 1781 on the way to engage Cornwallis in Virginia. George Washington passed many times."  Elk Ridge Landing marker on Rt. 1.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Transporting the huge tobacco barrels

A previous post on 'Rolling Roads' HERE showed one way of transporting large hogsheads of tobacco to Elk-ridge and other ports. In addition to 'rolling in hoops' by hand, the large barrels were pulled by horses, put in wagons, in 'upland boats' or on two canoes.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Willow harvesting in Elkridge for baskets and furniture


Maryland was the second largest producer (NY first) of basket willow and third in consumption (behind NY, MA), in 1919, to make willow furniture and baskets for sale in the region.  Willow cuttings (not tree, more a bush) were planted in rows, cut, sized, put in pits with a couple inches of water, put through the brakes, then peeled, dried on racks and bundled ready to ship.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Cotton mills of Ellicott's Mills in 1849

 In 1849 there were 4 large-scale mills along the Patapsco River by Ellicott City which made cotton material: Union in Oella (pictured), the Granite, the Patapsco, and the Thistle. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ellicott mills in 1805

"1805 8th Month, 3d. This evening I visited Ellicott's Mills, in company with J. T. and his wife. The overseer of these mills informed me they could grind and pack 300 barrels of flour per day. A barrel being 196lbs. or 14st. the annual returns, at 3s. per stone, would be nearly 200,0001. The stones were 7 feet in diameter."

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, strike, Vinegar Hill, gondola cars - Randolph Brandt Latimer remembers

Randolph B. Latimer (1821-1903) began working at age 15 in the B & O Railroad engineering department, then started a store Randolph & Latimer and flour commission. His father ran a stage line between Baltimore and Washington city.

Monday, July 24, 2017

First passenger car with Cooper's steam engine

The first ride of a carload of dignitaries behind the Cooper steam engine was on August 28, 1830 from Baltimore to Ellicott mills on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  The open car, fashioned after a canal boat, was a "perfect jam" and whisked along the curves at 15 miles an hour - 18 when full speed!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Colonel Gassaway Watkins and "Walnut Grove" family cemetery

Gassaway Watkins (1752-1840) fought in the Revolutionary War, and later as a Colonel in the War of 1812. He lived at "Richland" until his father-in-law Capt John Dorsey died and with wife Ruth (Dorsey) Watkins moved to the nearby Dorsey lands and built their home "Walnut Grove". He and his third wife are buried on a hill by their home (right side of photo), which has just been marvelously cleared, sodded and the site of a recent commemoration. Links with more info at end of post.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Winans friction wheel for the new railroads

Ross Winans (1796-1877) was born in NJ and moved to Md in the late 1820s as the B&O railroad was starting. He invented the friction wheel with ‘outside bearing’ in 1828, sold his locomotives also to the Russian Czar during his highly successful business 1843-1863, was arrested as a southern sympathizer, designed cigar boats 1859 (submarines) with son Thomas and although invented by Charles S. Dickinson in 1860 in Boston, the 'Winans Steam Gun' was worked on in his shop.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Baltimore or Winans Steam Gun - Civil War

At the start of the Civil War, a bullet proof "steam gun" was patented by Charles Dickinson and worked on in Ross Winans foundry in Baltimore.  Dickinson was on his way to sell it to the Confederacy, when it was captured in Ellicott City by Col. Jones and the 6th Mass. It was kept at Relay to guard the Thomas Viaduct. The muzzle of the gun/cannon protruded from the slit of the cone (see below) and it was dragged by a team of horses.  A large replica can be seen at Elkridge.