Howard History

1957: Drought

August 05, 2007

As reported Aug. 4, 1957, in The Sun:

Thirsty Ellicott City looked in vain yesterday for a long cool glass of water.

A muddy trickle dripped from open faucets as the town's critical shortage entered its second day.

At 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, a 7,200-gallon tank truck began a seemingly endless shuttle from the Baltimore county water main on Rolling Road to replenish the town's 250,000-gallon storage tank.

Two artesian wells pumped all last night but were unable to fill the gap caused by nearly dry Sucker Branch. The 2 1/2 -mile stream, which with the two wells form the only town water supply, has been reduced to a trickle by the current drought.

Norman E. Moxley, president of the Howard County Board of Commissioners, said the water shortage was "critical - the supply is about one-tenth of normal."

B.H. Shipley, volunteer fire chief, said that Ellicott City last night had "absolutely no fire protection ... except for an emergency tank truck with 7,200 gallons of water. We will have to hope we don't need the water. There's not enough pressure in the fire hydrants."

Last night, many homes reported no water at all.

Local merchants reported a sharp rise this week in the purchase of paper plates, soft drinks and beer.

[Paul McCardell, Sun researcher]

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