Summertime in Maryland - 2023
This summer I decided to do a couple of small personal assignments during my stay in Maryland. The first one is the continuing study of Old Ellicott City, Maryland. When I first came to Maryland in 1985, it was still a small, working village, complete with a grocer, a cafe, a neighborhood lumber yard, and a pub. The town was both historic, being the location of the oldest surviving railroad station in the United States, and picturesque, with multistory buildings built into the stone hillsides. It was also the county seat of Howard County, the smallest in Maryland. Even when I arrived, there were more livestock than people in the county. Unfortunately, that wasn't to last. Most of the livestock are gone, the population has almost tripled, and it is now one of the most educated and affluent counties in the U.S. Old Ellicott City became redundant as the new population's need for shopping and services moved to the top of the hill, along the old Baltimore National Pike, now more commonly known as Route 40. The businesses in the old town slowly closed and the town became a collection of antique shops, art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Things went well for a couple of decades until a series of disastrous floods in 2016, 2018, and 2022 caused a huge amount of damage and the loss of several lives. No sooner had businesses rebuilt, then they were destroyed by the next flood. Parts of the old town were destroyed and then condemned. Portions of the town were rebuilt, while others remain vacant. While the state and county try to build structures that will divert storm water from the main street of Ellicott City, the future is still in doubt. Please click on the the photo above to see the Ellicott City Gallery.
A day or so after arriving back in Maryland, I had occasion to drive a few miles down the road to Laurel, Maryland. The town, right at the border between Howard and Prince Georges counties, lies halfway between Baltimore and Washington, astride most of the major thoroughfares and railroad. It was also long the nearest town to Fort Meade and home to the famous Laurel Park Racetrack. Over the years, Laurel has changed many times. One such change is the North-South thoroughfare, US Route 1, has slowly decayed. In the 1950's and '60's, it was lined with inexpensive motels and modest eateries. Before 9-11, the five hijackers of American Flight 77 stayed in a couple of these motels. Now it has become pretty seedy. Some of the motels have already been demolished, leaving nothing but the motel signs. More are sure to follow. So, I decided to start documenting this area before it is gone forever. As I went along, I started to expand this going North along U.S. Route 1, hence the name of the project expanded to Route 1 Project. Please click on the the photos above to see the Laurel Gallery. Enjoy!