Mural by Edward Williams in Ellicott City, 2017.

Six-to-Fix Update: The Murals of Main Street in Ellicott City

03/15/2017
By Michelle Eshelman

The road to recovery for Ellicott City has had many milestone moments along the way: emergency stabilization of storefronts, reopening Main Street for holiday shoppers, and progress building-by-building. Some of the smaller moments, too, like recently painted storefront murals, highlight the resilient and artistic spirit of Ellicott City.

Since August, the Preservation Maryland Ellicott City Preservation Resource Center has assisted in the survey, documentation, and rebuilding of the historic Main Street. Although huge progress occurs on a weekly basis as many of buildings on Main Street reopen, many sustained major damage that will require extensive work.

DOWNPLAYING THE PLYWOOD

Storefront murals on Main Street in Ellicott City, 2017.

Many of the buildings damaged in the flood have been boarded up with plywood for safety and to prevent additional damage while interior works occurs. Unpainted plywood sheeting can often have a negative effect on the overall impression of a building and surrounding area. These murals allow the buildings under construction to have the same look and appearance as the rest of the street, despite retaining major damage from the flooding.

Approved by the Historic District Commission, the designs of the murals relate directly to the historical, architectural, or aesthetic character of the area. The paint colors are complimentary to the existing palette of the building, and the plywood on the doors may be painted to look like historically appropriate doors or the shop windows painted to be full of antiques – some of them may even trick you!

 

THE ART OF MAIN STREET

These murals, a method of community revitalization and tactile urbanism, have been a huge success on Main Street. Seven windows, doors, and buildings around downtown Ellicott City have received the hand-painted faux facades by Catonsvilles artist, Edward Williams. Williams created faux windows and doors on the Joan Eve Classics and Collectibles and Out of Our Past Antiques storefronts at 8111-8113 Main Street – both of which were completely wiped out by the flood. He also worked to create murals on multiple doors and windows at the new Georgia Grace Cafe at 8008 Main Street.

The murals were celebrated in an unveiling ceremony on February 24, 2017, with county executive Allan Kittleman, to thank the artist, as well as the many volunteers and sponsors who made the project possible.

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Michelle Eshelman · Preservation Associate, Ellicott City Preservation Resource Center

Michelle Eshelman uses her architect training to illustrate our preservation projects, from floor plans to 3D models. She’s also on-call to assist with designing Ellicott City’s recovery.

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