New book celebrates Ellicott City

May 16, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

Robin Liebno Linthicum's chronicle of historic Ellicott City includes word puzzles, maps and pictures of local landmarks that readers can color.

Written for ages 7 and up, the 32-page activity book, "Remembering Ellicott Mills," describes the growth of historic Ellicott City from its humble beginnings as a mill town in 1772 to a bustling center filled with antique stores, novelty shops and restaurants.

The book is "really for everybody," said Mrs. Linthicum, an Ellicott City resident who wants to reach children as well as out-of-town visitors looking for souvenirs from the historic town.

The 41-year-old teachers' secretary at Elkridge Elementary got the idea for the book three years ago when her son, Ryan, now 12, wrote a report for Black History Month.

Ryan's research inspired Mrs. Linthicum to learn more about inventor and scientist Benjamin Banneker, who lived in present-day Oella, just across the Patapsco River from historic Ellicott City.

"I had always heard of Benjamin Banneker but I had no idea of what he had done," said Mrs. Linthicum, who included a word puzzle based on Mr. Banneker in the book.

By writing the book, "Maybe I could honor what Benjamin Banneker did and the town," Mrs. Linthicum said.

In addition to the word puzzle on Mr. Banneker, the book features games using historical terms such as gristmill, livery stable and blacksmith. Readers can also test their knowledge of Maryland geography by locating the state's 23 counties on a map and learn how actress Patty Duke made a movie called the "The Goddess" in Ellicott City.

Mrs. Linthicum wrote the book based on "what I knew and what I found when I researched and what kids could relate to."

The fledgling historian spent a year researching her project, using children's books, Ellicott City historian Joetta Cramm's "Historic Ellicott City: A Walking Tour," photographs and materials from the city's 1972 Bicentennial celebration.

The most difficult part was finding time to write the book in between working and caring for her two sons and husband, she said.

"I really wanted to do it, so I found the time," said Mrs. Linthicum, who wrote the book at night after her family had gone to bed.

She wrote the book in longhand, then transferred the text to computer.

With the help of illustrator Don Burnette, a custodian at Elkridge Elementary, and editing from Ms. Cramm, Mrs. Linthicum finished the book within a year.

She hopes her efforts make people more appreciative of the 200-year-old city.

"I would just like to make people stop and think of how things work" in Ellicott City, she said. "Hopefully, it will be going on for another couple of hundred years."

The $3.95 book will be available at the Second Anniversary Celebration at the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center on Saturday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.

The book is also available at the following locations: B&O Ellicott City Railroad Station, Celebrate Maryland!, Ellicott's Country Store, Mumbles & Squeaks Toy Gallery, Cover To Cover bookstore and cafe, Junior Editions Inc., Cappuccino, Ellicott Books and The Wayside Inn.

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