Perched at Ellicott City’s highest point, the Patapsco Female Institute offered a revolutionary curriculum to young women from 1837-1891. The school earned a national reputation for its inclusion of botany, chemistry, and mathematics in a time where it was believed that women could not learn such subjects.
Since the school’s closure circa 1891, the site lived other lives as a summer resort hotel, a private residence, The Hilltop Theatre, (Maryland’s first summer stock theater), and a nursing home first known as the Brennan Convalescent Home, and later Highland Manor. A long period of vacancy with an absentee owner led to the building’s gradual deterioration. The Friends of the Patpasco Female Institute formed in 1965 as a grassroots organization to save the site from further decay. Thanks to their efforts and partnership with Howard County, the ruins of this grand example of Greek-revival architecture were stabilized and restored in 1995.
Explore the Victorian Era in Howard county by joining us for a tour, booking a wedding or special event, or attending an educational program at this breezy hilltop historic park.
The Patapsco Female Institute is open for history tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4pm, from May through November. Tours are weather permitting For the most updated information please call the program status line at 410-313-0421.
Select year-round availability options exist for school groups and private tours.
Our community takes safety seriously. Recently Governor Hogan signed an executive order requiring masks in public places where social distancing cannot occur. Masks are required in all our store fronts. Please respect the safety of our businesses and staff. If you don't care to wear a mask, we suggest you frequent our businesses’ many online shopping opportunities. Thank you for your continued support of our beloved OEC.