5 Favorite Landmarks in Ellicott City

Ellicott City is steeped in history. So naturally, the city’s most beloved landmarks have been around since the 18th and 19th centuries. They range from the colonial to the paranormal. If you’re in town for a visit, stop by these five favorite landmarks—and you’ll be guaranteed a fun history lesson!

B&O Ellicott City Station Museum

The Baltimore & Ohio Ellicott City Station was built in 1831 and is the oldest railroad station in America. It originally operated as a freight station and eventually opened to passengers in 1857. Group tours are available at $5 per person. Several events and programs are organized throughout the year, including historical exhibits, hands-on activities, and ghost tours. The museum is now entirely managed by Howard County and admission is free.

The Ellicott City Colored School

The Ellicott City Colored School opened in 1880 and became the first Howard County public school for black children. Compared to other schools in the area, the one-room schoolhouse did not have electricity or running water. It closed in 1953, right before the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education. Now the school functions as a genealogical resource center and museum of African American history in Howard County. Tours are available May–December. Admission is free.

Thomas Isaac Log Cabin

The log cabin was built around 1780 by colonial settlers. Town local Thomas Isaac bought the cabin in 1858. The cabin served as the meeting place for Ellicott City’s African American community in the 1870s. Now the structure serves as a historical site where costumed guides show you what it was like to live in colonial times. Admission is free and tours are available year-round.

Carrollton Hall

Carrollton Hall now sits at the Shrine of St. Anthony. This Greek Revival manor was built in 1832 by Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was designed for Carroll’s beloved granddaughter, Emily. The manor and its surrounding grounds were sold to the Franciscan Friars in 1928. Tours of the manor are available by appointment.

Hell House

No, this has nothing to do with the popular horror novel. Ellicott City’s Hell House is a ruin of long-abandoned St. Mary’s College. After the last of the students left the school in 1972, the facility fell victim to vandals and arson until it was demolished. The most prominent surviving ruin is the gazebo featuring an altar with a large cross. The area eventually became the subject of urban legends and supernatural stories, earning the nickname “Hell House.” Getting to Hell House is a challenge (mainly due to parking concerns), but the intrepid will find their way. It’s about a 30-minute hike to the ruins and a piece of eerie Ellicott City.