Less than a month before the B&O Railroad Station Museum in Ellicott City will be taken over by new management, its former caretakers have published a book documenting its history.
Historic Ellicott City Inc., the nonprofit preservation organization that has directed exhibits and programs at the station for 30 years, recently completed The Ellicott City B&O Railroad Station: A National Historic Landmark.
"It is something we have wanted to do for a long time," said Janet Kusterer, the group's executive director. "We really got inspired when we knew we were giving up stewardship."
The station, the first railroad terminus built in the United States, was erected after 13 miles of track were laid from Baltimore west to the then-named Ellicott Mills.
Historic Ellicott City Inc. began managing the museum in 1976 and oversaw several restoration projects. Now the preservation group wants to focus on other projects, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore has signed a lease with Howard County, which owns the building, to direct activities at the Ellicott City location.
Historic Ellicott City Inc. will be honored at a celebration Jan. 15 at the Ellicott City museum, and County Executive James N. Robey plans to unveil a plaque celebrating the group's years of stewardship.
Members want to make sure they leave behind a record of the station's history, as well.
For children who called seeking information for school projects or visitors who wanted to take home a souvenir, "there was no one resource that would tell you all about the station," Kusterer said.
The book project is "for posterity's sake," said Travis Harry, a former director of the museum and a co-author with Kusterer and Charles D. Kyler IV.
Historic Ellicott City Inc. was "an integral part of the station," Harry said. "If they weren't there, [the station] wouldn't be there, probably."
The book includes an early history of Ellicott City and information on the building of the railroad station in 1831. It recounts the site's devastation by Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 and its rebirth as a museum.
It was a challenge, Kusterer said, to sort through three decades of photographs, slides and digital files. "It's a small book, but it's pretty comprehensive," she said.
Copies of "The Ellicott City B&O Railroad Station" are available for $9.95 at the Howard County Tourism Office or at the B&O Railroad Station Museum, Main Street and Maryland Ave., Ellicott City. Information and RSVP for the Jan. 15 celebration: 410-461-6908, www.historicec.com, or www. ecbo.org.