Please check our main Recreation & Parks webpage for all updates. Please call our inclement weather lines about the status of camps, programs, events, facilities, and parks: www.howardcountymd.gov/inclementweatherlines.
Thomas Isaac Log Cabin is closed until further notice.
3711 Maryland Avenue, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Reopening July 8, 2020
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday: 10am-3pm, Friday-Sunday: 10am-5pm
The Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Information & Rentals: 410-313-1945
The Ellicott City Station is the oldest surviving railroad depot in America, and one of the oldest in the world. When built in 1831, it was the terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s first 13-miles that ran from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. The Railroad was named for its point of origin, Baltimore, and its intended destination, the Ohio River.
While passenger service was offered from the start, the depot was originally built to handle freight. Passengers boarded at the Railroad Hotel across the street until the station was remodeled in 1857 to be a passenger terminus.
Even before the station opened, Ellicott City is the site of many firsts including the B&O’s inaugural trip from Baltimore to Ellicott's Mills that took place on May 22, 1830, using horse-drawn rail cars. Regular passenger service began on May 24. The B&O demonstrated its first steam locomotive, known as the Tom Thumb, at Ellicott's Mills in 1830. In the first year of operation, 80,000 passengers rode the train from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills. Passenger service ceased at the station in 1949 and freight and express service continued until 1972. The station closed for good following Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and was saved by Historic Ellicott City, Inc., a group of local preservationists that opened the site as a museum. Today, the building is owned by Howard County and managed by their Heritage Program through the Recreation and Parks Department.
6555 Belmont Woods Drive, Elkridge, MD 21075
Hours: By permit only
Information & Rentals: 410-313-0200
Belmont now hosts an array of events. These include weddings, rehearsals dinners, business meetings, holiday parties, anniversary parties, retirement parties, quinceaneras, bat/bar mitzvahs, retreats and bridal showers. Belmont also offers a variety of programs open to the public such as Ghost Tours, Movie Nights, Afternoon Teas and our Open Houses. Create your perfect event or take advantage of our many recreational programs. Belmont Manor and Historic Park awaits you.
For more information click here.
8683 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, Maryland
Tours are available from 1-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays from May through December.
Opened in 1880, the Ellicott City Colored School fulfilled an 1879 Maryland State law requiring that counties provide educational facilities for African American children. The school — the first to be built with county funds — operated until 1953, before the landmark Supreme Court Case Brown vs. Board of Education called for the integration of public schools.
In stark contrast with the lavish Patapsco Female Institute, the one-room structure was primitive; it never had running water, electricity, or central heating. In 1950, after 14 years of parents petitioning the school board, a well was dug and a water pump installed outside of the building.
The Ellicott City Colored School closed its doors in 1953. The next school year, students attended the newly constructed Fells Lane Elementary School, which operated until the end of school segregation in 1965.
The school house went largely unused except as storage for Roger Carter's Bus Service. By 1989 the building was neglected and overgrown with vines and branches, sitting largely forgotten and hidden on the hillside. A woman named Beulah "Meach" Buckner was searching for African American graves for a project with the Central Maryland Chapter Afro-American Historical and Geneaological Society when she stumbled across the ruins of the school. After researching the building, she strongly felt the site needed to be restored and hosted various fund raisers and campaigned for its restoration. In 1995, the Department of Recreation and Parks purchased the property and began the preservation process.
The restored building was dedicated as a museum in 2002 and currently is furnished to represent an early 1900s rural classroom. Exhibits about other segregated schools in Howard County and other exhibits highlighting the history of local African Americans can be seen.
3829 Main Street, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Starting Saturday, July 11
Tours are available from 1-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays through December.
Saturday & Sunday, 1-4pm
Located in the heart of the historic district, the Firehouse Museum explores the unique challenges of fighting fire in late 19th and early 20th century Ellicott City. The city’s topography and architecture — steep, sloping streets tightly lined with adjoined wooden buildings — provided prime conditions for the spread of fire while inhibiting the transport of water. In 1889, a group of volunteers constructed the firehouse at a cost of $500 dollars. Conveniently situated on a small, triangular lot, the original building was simply designed to house the hand-drawn and horse-drawn fire equipment. It operated until 1924, when the firehouse relocated to 8320 Main Street, and moved again in 1937 to the building known today as the Wine Bin. In 1995, the station moved to its current location on Route 103.
The building served as municipal office and a meeting hall from 1906-1935 and later as a reading room for the Howard County Library. With decline in use, the library was closed November 15, 1988.
The exterior has since been restored to its original design, and the interior refurbished. This was accomplished through the cooperative efforts of former County Executive Elizabeth Bobo, Howard County Employment and Training Center, and the Home Builders Association of Maryland. The site was dedicated as a museum in 1991.
8334 Main Street, Ellicott City, MD 21043
This was Howard County's first courthouse, from 1840-1842. At the time, Howard was not a separate county but instead a district within Anne Arundel County. Two sessions were held per year- one in the spring and one in the fall. The building dates to approximately 1820s and was at owned by the Ellicott family, who leased the building as a court house while the current Circuit Court was being constructed. When that court house opened in 1843, this building returned to use as a residential dwelling.
In 2015, the site was recognized on the National Park Service's Network to Freedom for the cases heard involving anti-slavery sentiments and actions.
During the May 27, 2018 flash flood that occurred on Main Street, this building was lost. Remanants of the Network to Freedom exhibit are now housed at the B&O Ellicott City Station Museum. There are no current plans to rebuild.
3655 Church Road, Ellicott City, Maryland
Hours: By permit only
Information & Rentals: 410-313-0421
The Patapsco Female Institute is open for free history tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4pm, from May through November. Tours are weather permitting. For the most updated information please call the program status line at 410-313-0421.
The Patapsco Female Institute will be closed the following days for private events:
-Saturday, October 3, 2020
-Saturday, October 10, 2020
-Saturday, October 17, 2020
-Saturday, October 31, 2020
-Saturday, November 7, 2020
Select year-round availability options exist for school groups and private tours.
Perched at Ellicott City’s highest point, the Patapsco Female Institute offered a revolutionary curriculum to young women from 1837-1891. The school earned a national reputation for its inclusion of botany, chemistry, and mathematics in a time where it was believed that women could not learn such subjects.
Since the school’s closure circa 1891, the site lived other lives as a summer resort hotel, a private residence, The Hilltop Theatre, (Maryland's first summer stock theater), and a nursing home first known as the Brennan Convalescent Home, and later Highland Manor. A long period of vacancy with an absentee owner led to the building's gradual deterioration. The Friends of the Patpasco Female Institute formed in 1965 as a grassroots organization to save the site from further decay. Thanks to their efforts and partnership with Howard County, the ruins of this grand example of Greek-revival architecture were stabilized and restored in 1995.
Explore the Victorian Era in Howard county by joining us for a tour, booking a wedding or special event, or attending an educational program at this breezy hilltop historic park.
Parking Lot F
Ellicott City, MD 21043
When the site reopens, tours will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4pm through December. School groups and private tours available year-round, weather permitting.
Constructed around 1780 on nearby Merryman Street, the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin commemorates the early stages of European development in the Patapsco River Valley. The site’s namesake, Thomas Isaac, purchased the structure in 1858 to expand his land holdings. The site served as important resource for city’s African American community in the 1870s, preceding the still-active St. Luke A.M.E. church as a meeting place. The cabin remained in the Isaac family until 1933. John Henry Stanton aquired the property and later willed it to his widow, Fannie Jackson Stanton, in 1963. By the 1970s, the building was vacant and boarded up.
In the 1980s, the cabin was dismantled and rebuilt where it stood until the summer of 2018. After the May 27 flash flood, the immediate area surrounding the building was no longer an ideal or safe location. The cabin was once again moved. It is temporarily closed and stored in Parking Lot F with plans for a permanent relocation on the Barnard Fort House property.
The cabin’s small size and spare interior reflect the style of most homes from the end of the 18th century, lending visitors a sense of Howard County’s colonial past.
2300 Waverly Mansion Drive, Marriottsville, MD 21104
Hours: By permit only
Information & Rentals: 410-313-0424
Enjoy this restored mansion, furnished with period antiques. It is open for special programs and for tours by appointment. It is also a popular place for weddings, parties and meetings. This property is associated with many of the “founding families” of Maryland and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nathan Dorsey, son of Colonel John Dorsey, built the main section of the mansion between 1756 and 1764. The property was later sold to Revolutionary War hero, Colonel John Eager Howard, Governor of Maryland from 1788 to 1790. Colonel Howard gave the house and land to his son, George, who later also served as Governor (1831-33). George Howard and his wife, Prudence, a member of the Ridgeley family, named their estate after the popular Sir Walter Scott novel, Waverley.
Weddings may resume July 16 at our facilities with restrictions
The Patapsco Female Institute offers a truly unique atmosphere for couples looking to put a personal touch on their wedding celebration. The elegance of Greek Revival Architecture meets the breezy lightness of an outdoor event in the stabilized ruins to provide endless creative versatility.
For information about rentals at Belmont,