Save Historic Ellicott City

Over the past two years, Preservation Maryland has been an active partner in the flood response and recovery efforts in historic Ellicott City. Our work, in coordination with our public and private partners, has ensured that not a single building was lost. We have recommitted in the face of the threat of demolition – not from flooding – but from a recent Howard County Government plan that calls for the demolitions of a dozen historic properties in the National Register historic district. Our efforts have included funding a grant programs, providing one-on-one technical assistance to property owners, and offer several alternatives to the demolition plan.

Partners: Howard County Historic Preservation Commission, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Historic Ellicott City, Inc., Maryland Historical Trust, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development


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The Problem

In the span of less than 24 months, Ellicott City has endured two “1,000 year” floods. In 2016, the preservation community rallied around the community to rebuild and, in the process, spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours working to put the pieces back together. By early 2018, nearly 96% of the historic downtown storefronts were back in business – a stunning testament to the success of the recovery effort. Now, the people of Ellicott City are confronted once more with the unenviable task of determining the future of their historic town. 

The Fix

In response to the latest proposal by Howard County Government to demolish large portions of the Ellicott City historic district, Preservation Maryland released an official statement of concern and published a special report, “A Place for the Past: Preserving Ellicott City’s Heritage and Securing Its Future,” outlining the economic value of Ellicott City and viable alternatives to demolition. The report, which was authored by the staff of Preservation Maryland with the support of talented professionals throughout the nation, compellingly makes the case for the value of Ellicott City’s authentic heritage. Additionally, the report identifies several alternatives to demolition and explores specific case studies in the region where flood-prone historic buildings have been adaptively reused. Preservation Maryland continues to stand ready to support the rebuilding, recovery, and rehabilitation of this historic community.



The Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning has invited the public to read and comment on the draft Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan being prepared by lead firm, Mahan Rykiel Associates.


April 2020

A case study of flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland was recently included as part of a larger study by the ResilientAmerica Program of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Executive Director Nicholas Redding was a major contributor to the report.


June 2019

A Howard County-appointed committee created through Executive Calvin Ball’s “Safe and Sound” plan has recommended the creation of a Community Development Organization (CDO) focused on the revitalization and sustainability of historic Ellicott City. Executive Director Nicholas Redding was a member of the committee.


December 2018

On Thursday December 27, 2018, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced of the new “Safe and Sound” plan to address persistent and devastating flooding in Ellicott City. Following that announcement, Preservation Maryland issued the following statement.


November 2018

Elections have consequences – and the most recent election in Howard County will have significant impacts on the future of historic Ellicott City. County Executive-elect Calvin Ball noted that moving forward the county will now “take time to evaluate all plans in progress for effectiveness and efficiency…and make a decision from there.

Learn More

October 2018

Earlier this month, CB75-2018 was introduced during a session of the Howard County Council that could radically upend over forty years of preservation planning and investment in historic Ellicott City by eliminating the independent nature of the county’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Take Action

October 2018

Preservation Maryland has released the findings of an independent third-party review by a national recognized engineering firm of Howard County’s engineering reports and it uncovers major shortcomings in vetting the current demolition plan.

Read the REport

September 2018

74 percent of Howard County voters support alternatives to demolishing large portions of Ellicott City’s historic district, according to a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy as part of a larger poll questionnaire.

Full poll results

August 2018

In response to the latest proposal to demolish large portions of the Ellicott City historic district, Preservation Maryland published a Special Report outlining the economic value of Ellicott City and viable alternatives to demolition.

Read Report

See More Updates

Third-Party Review of Ellicott City Flood Mitigation Plan
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

A Place for the Past: Preserving Ellicott City’s Heritage and Securing Its Future
Preservation Maryland

Statement on Ellicott City Demolition Proposal
Preservation Maryland

The Ellicott City Flood Mitigation Plan
Howard County Government

After Action Report: Ellicott City Flood of 2016
Preservation Maryland

Ellicott City Hydrology/Hydraulic Study and Concept Mitigation Analysis
McCormick Taylor

Historic Context of the Ellicott City Flood
Preservation Maryland

Minutes of the Historic Ellicott City Flood Work Group
Howard County Government


After the Water

Howard to bore a tunnel and raze four buildings to ease Ellicott City flooding, could cost $140 million
Howard County Times

Democrat Ball defeats incumbent Howard County executive Kittleman
The Baltimore Sun

Weinstein amends proposal that would have made it easier to demolish historic Ellicott City buildings
The Baltimore Sun

New report calls on Howard to pause plans to raze historic Ellicott City buildings
The Baltimore Sun

Preservation group report challenges Howard County’s flood plan
Baltimore Fishbowl

Proposal would make it easier for Howard to demolish historic Ellicott City buildings
Howard County Times

Howard County Council approves two bills to fund removal of 19 buildings from flood-prone historic Ellicott City
Howard County Times

Public weighs in on Ellicott City Flood Mitigation Plan
ABC2 WMAR Baltimore

Podcast with Nicholas Redding of Preservation Maryland
Elevated Maryland Podcast

Saving Historic Ellicott City with Mary Catherine Cochran

Preservation Maryland’s Nicholas Redding opposes razing Ellicott City Buildings
The Daily Record, Group Up Podcast

Preservation Maryland offers alternatives to razing 10 Ellicott City historic buildings
Baltimore Business Journal

Ellicott City economy depends on its past – don’t destroy it
Nicholas Redding, Executive Director, Preservation Maryland
The Baltimore Sun

Plan to tear down Ellicott City buildings raises preservation concerns
The Washington Post

Group upset with plan to demolish 20 historic buildings in Ellicott City

Preservationists urge more through on Ellicott City’s Main Street demolitions
Baltimore Business Journal

Ellicott City: Must we destroy this village in order to save it?
The Baltimore Sun

Plan to tear down Ellicott City buildings worries those concerned about preserving history
The Baltimore Sun

What Ellicott City businesses are in the buildings slated to be razed under floor plan?
The Baltimore Sun

Ambitious Ellicott City flood prevention plan would tear down 19 buildings in historic downtown
The Baltimore Sun



Save History Today

The Six-to-Fix program allows Preservation Maryland to take direct action to fulfill its mission to protect the best of Maryland. Your donation helps provide technical assistance through Preservation Maryland staff and preservation experts to threatened and underutilized historic places – your donation has a direct impact on saving Maryland architecture and history.

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