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History

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Howard County is located between Baltimore and Washington in the “heart” of Maryland and was named after John Eager Howard, a Revolutionary War hero and the fifth Governor of Maryland. There is a sense of pride in Howard County in our rich and diverse history. Originally a farming community with the thriving mill town of Ellicott City and the busy shipping port in Elkridge Landing, today’s Howard County is a successful blend of old and new, urban and rural. To learn more about our efforts to celebrate and preserve our past, including National Historic Landmarks like the first railroad terminus in America and the oldest remaining stone curved bridge in the world, follow the links below.
Historic Preservation

Find out more about the Historic District Commission, the Historic Sites Inventory and Historic Tax Credits. Download the Ellicott City and Lawyers Hill Design Guidelines, as well as applications for the Historic District Commission.

Pfeiffer's Corner Schoolhouse
Originally constructed about 1883, the Pfeiffer's Corner Schoolhouse is one of the very few remaining one-room schools in Howard County and is now fully restored. Children were educated within its walls for over 50 years until it was converted into a residence in the 1940's.
Waverly Mansion
With its mid-18th century architecture, meticulously restored interior rooms, modern amenities and beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens, Waverly Mansion's one-of-a-kind setting adds just the right atmosphere to every occasion. Surprise friends, influence business associates and make wedding memories that last a lifetime.
Thomas Isaac Log Cabin
Named after its late 19th century owner, this rustic structure was built circa 1780 as a settler’s home of Ellicott Mills. The cabin was reconstructed on the present site in the late 20th century.
Ellicott City Firehouse Museum
Located in the county’s first firehouse in historic Ellicott City, the Firehouse Museum houses a wide array of fire apparatus, model toys, and an impressive visual history of Howard County’s Volunteer Fire Department.
Ellicott City Colored School, Restored
This one-room schoolhouse building was constructed in 1880 as the first public school for black children in Howard County.
Bollman Truss Bridge
The Bollman Truss Bridge is the only known remaining example of the revolutionary all-iron truss system patented by Baltimore engineer Wendell Bollman in the mid-19th century.
Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park
Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Patapsco River Valley, The Patapsco Female Institute was founded in 1837 as an elegant finishing school for young women.
James Marlow House
The James Marlow House, circa 1840, was originally built as a two-story structure with one room on each floor. The exterior walls were log and chink construction. The house is significant as a prototype of rural, agrarian vernacular architecture from the Howard County region of Maryland. The County has restored the house to its post Civil War era configuration except for interior enrichments of 1924 which have been retained.
Heritage Orientation Center

The Heritage Orientation Center is located behind the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin in the county’s first Court Records building. View unique exhibits on the 18th and 19th Century milling techniques, floods of Ellicott Mills, and the Ellicott Family. The center is open daily from 11 am–4 pm. For more information, call 410-465-8500. 

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