The Ellicott City Station is the oldest surviving railroad depot in America, and one of the oldest in the world. When built in 1831, it was the terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s first 13 miles that ran from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland (today known as Ellicott City). The railroad was named for its point of origin, Baltimore, and its intended destination, the Ohio River.
While passenger service was offered from the start, the depot was originally built to handle freight. Passengers boarded at the railroad hotel across the street until the station was remodeled in 1857 to be a passenger terminus.
Even before the station opened, Ellicott City was the site of many firsts. This includes the B&O’s inaugural trip from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills that took place on May 22, 1830 using horse-drawn rail cars. Regular passenger service began on May 24 of that year. The B&O demonstrated its first steam locomotive, known as the Tom Thumb, at Ellicott’s Mills in 1830. In the first year of operation, 80,000 passengers rode the train from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills. Passenger service ceased at the station in 1949 and freight and express service continued until 1972. The station closed for good following Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and was saved by Historic Ellicott City, Inc., a group of local preservationists that opened the site as a museum. Today, the building is owned by Howard County and managed by their Heritage Program through the Department of Recreation and Parks.
Closed: January 1, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving (Thursday & Friday) & December 25.