Thursday, August 27, 2009

Morning in Ellicott's Mills

Site of the First Terminus of the B&O Railroad

B&O Station
B&O Station.

Patapsco Hotel
Patapsco Hotel.

Arch of the old railroad bridge.

Floods of the Twentieth Century.

Bridge Cornerstone
Cornerstone of the railroad bridge...

...still carrying Chessie System trains today.

Yesterday morning I was in Ellicott City to make some changes to the model of the town as it existed in the Nineteenth Century. It was a lovely sunny day so I walked around the center of town and enjoyed the play of sunlight on quarried granite. When the site manager of the museum arrived I set to work adding stables and reshaping some topography to make the model more accurate. The museum opened at 10:00 am but they assured me there would not be too many visitors. School was back in session.

My first visitor was Billy, a young Marine who was studying at a journalism school at Ft. Meade. "Would I mind if... " Next thing you know I'm miked and describing what I'm doing as Billy rolls tape. Billy said he'd send me a copy. After the interview I'm wishing we could replace the whole MSM with a few good men like Billy.

A few railfans with huge cameras trickled through. It was a quiet day. Those guys just want to get pictures of trains. I modelled furiously and reached a point where things just had to dry.

I took my afternoon meal at a little tavern/grill across from the station known as the Phoenix. I found the name interesting as the business had arisen from the floodwaters of the Patapsco rather than a fire. It was a busy place and I was amazed as one young lady covered the entire dining area by herself. The sandwich fare at the Phoenix is delicious. The decor is stained-glass transoms from turn of the century houses.

Back at the museum things were drying up nicely. I added some paint and again had a short drying wait. I gave an impromptu 'tour' of the model to a nice homeschooling family from Pennsylvania. I learned where they were from as I explained how the Ellicotts had come from Bucks County PA to settle on the banks of the Patapsco. They seemed to enjoy learning about how the Quaker Ellicotts settled in the midst of Catholic Maryland and convinced Charles Carroll to diversify his crops and use limestone on his fields.

A little before the museum's closing time I was finished. We put the plexiglass case back over the miniature town and I packed up my tools to leave. It had been a long day and Virginia was still a long drive away.

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