"B&O's First Terminus at Ellicott City, MD Hit by Deadly Historic Flood"

Ellicott City, MD, the first terminus of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O), was struck by a deadly flash flood on July 30, 2016. A confluence of meteorological and geographical factors turned a hard summer rain into a destructive torrent. The most intense rain fell over an area upstream of the Patapsco River and three channels combined to propel the water toward it: two tributaries, the Hudson and the Tiber, as well as Main Street itself. In less than two hours, the river rose 14 feet above its normal flow. Shops and restaurants that line Main Street were swamped and flooded as churning water rushed down the street. The Tiber, usually just an inch or two of water coming through a reinforced channel below some of the buildings, swelled during the storm, smashing through floors.

Two individuals were swept away to their deaths by the raging waters that coursed through Ellicott City'S historic district when 6-1/2 inches of rain fell in about two hours. TV images showed the river raging down Main Street, carrying and spinning automobiles (some occupied) along its path. There were water rescues of drivers and Saturday evening diners retreating to upper floors to escape the rising waters. In the aftermath, several buildings have been identified as in danger of collapsing.

On August 3rd, the B&O Museum issued the following flood report: The B&O Railroad Museum Ellicott City Station remains dosed until further notice. Museum staff and representatives from Howard County Recreation and Parks were permitted access to the historic B&O Ellicott City station on August 2. Other than some minor damage to electrical wiring and  ductwork in a crawl space, the building was found safe, secure and undamaged, as were the artifacts and equipment within. Given the station's location at the comer of Main Street and Maryland Avenue and its north face at the confluence of the Tiber and Patapsco Rivers, it seemed miraculous that little to no damage occurred. The north portion of the plaza in front of the station and the buildings across Main Street are some of the hardest hit areas.

The B&O Museum intends to continue to support its business and residential neighbors and the Howard County Government who were so hard-hit by this natural disaster The B&O Railroad Museum Ellicott City Station will likely remain closed for the forseeable future.

-- (courtesy Courtney B. Wilson, Baltimore & Ohio RR Museum) --