Insiders' Guide To Historic Ellicott City

October 28, 2007|By Brad Schleicher | Brad Schleicher,Sun reporter

Nestled on the banks of the Patapsco River, Historic Ellicott City has served many purposes.

Founded in 1771 by the Ellicott brothers, Joseph, Andrew and John, the town existed for its milling and flour production. During the Civil War, it was a pivotal Union outpost.

Today, the picturesque downtown is a popular tourist spot and a must-visit for history buffs and window shoppers.

Here, new shops open quickly after the old ones close. And other than the occasional housing renovation, the look and feel of the town remains fairly constant.

The housing stock --"The housing market in Historic Ellicott City is a diverse situation," says Conrad Sump of Keller Williams Realty. Upscale, single-family homes have a high volume of sales and differ greatly in price.

Rowhouses along Main Street can vary from $300,000 to $400,000. "Anything with a lawn will be around $450,000," says Sump, "but some houses, depending on what they offer, can go up to $700,000."

Average month's rent --Main Street offers limited choices for apartments, mostly rentals on the upper floors of a shop or in a portion of a house.

According to Craig Westphal of PCF Management, a single-bedroom apartment will run about $800 a month. Two- and three-bedroom apartments cost $1,200 to $1,800 a month. Although there are no apartment complexes on Main Street, there are some in the surrounding area.

Kids and schools --The area is served by Worthington and Veterans elementaries and Dunloggin and Ellicott Mills middles. These schools consistently exceed state proficiency levels in reading and math. The two high schools, Centennial and Mount Hebron, have a graduation rate of more than 95 percent.

Crime --The Howard County Police Department serves Historic Ellicott City. Because it's such a large tourist and nightlife spot, there are three main types of crime. According to Cpl. Tonya Riffle, "The most prevalent crimes are destruction of property, DUIs and theft, in general, from businesses, homes, automobiles and persons."

Shopping --Main Street features a multitude of tiny specialty shops, most of which offer a wide array of home furnishings and collectible antiques. The Mall in Columbia and other suburban shopping centers are a short drive away.

Transportation --Cars are the main source of transportation because there's a lot of free public parking. However, many residents and visitors use the public bus system. Nancy Huggins of Howard Transit says that more than 200 passengers are served daily.

Dining in --On Main Street, Fisher's Bakery offers a variety of breads, pastries and cakes for takeout. Superfresh on Ridge Road is the closest supermarket.

Dining out --The restaurants along Main Street are quite diverse. Places like Tersiguel's, a classical French country restaurant, and Jordan's Steakhouse are upscale, while places like Tiber River Tavern and Cacao Lane cater to a casual crowd, serving American and Continental-style cuisine. Casual fare is also available at a few of the pubs.

Nightlife --Main Street Ellicott City has a bustling nightlife scene with different options depending on your taste and budget. La Palapa, a Mexican cantina, transforms into a dance club on Saturday nights, and Ellicott Mills Brewing Company offers a variety of German-style beers that are brewed in-house.

Recreation/outdoors --The Roger Carter Recreation Center offers an outdoor swimming pool, basketball courts and yoga classes. Walking trails, a dog park located off Main Street and ghost tours provide other options for outdoor activities. Patapsco Valley State Park, which offers hiking, camping, picnicking and Frisbee golf, is also nearby.

brad.schleicher@baltsun.com

HISTORIC ELLICOTT CITY BY THE NUMBERS

ZIP code

-- 21043

Homes on the market

-- 5

Average sale price

-- $699,780

Average days on the market

-- 109*

[*Information based on sales during the past 180 days, compiled by Mark Leone of Long and Foster Realtors in Ellicott City and Metropolitan Regional Systems Inc.]

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