Robey's parents and sister, who had remained in Daniels as caretakers after the town was virtually shut down in 1968, were rescued by helicopter from the roof of the mill manager's house where they lived when Agnes struck. Robey was on police duty elsewhere in the county and unaware of the drama, he said.

"The watchman on duty had warned my parents that the water was rising" and that they should leave, Robey recalled. "By the time my dad had moved the car [to higher ground], it was too late, and the National Guard was called to their rescue."

Robey lived in Daniels until age 23 and had been training to become a machinist until he "decided that wasn't what I wanted to do." He was one of two police officers hired by the county in 1966, he said. He went on to become Howard's police chief and later county executive before being elected to the General Assembly.

"I wish the town was still here," he said. "I'm concerned that the spirit of the people who lived and worked here will decay as more people pass away. Newer people are going to be oblivious" to the town's history and charm.

Jane Bourne Derrick, who lived in Daniels from 1936 to 1953, recalls a near-perfect upbringing, with swimming, ice skating and hiking available right in town. But it was the people who made the town memorable, she said.

"Everybody looked out for everybody else," said Derrick, 81, who remembers hiding behind the dam's waterfall to smoke cigarettes as a teen, and playing good-natured tricks at Halloween. "We were all friends, and the families were very close-knit."

The tenacity of the town's inhabitants is what Discover Daniels Day organizers hope to convey to visitors.

"Some of the history and stories of Daniels will sink in," Wingate said, "and that's the whole purpose of this day."

If you go

What: Discover Daniels Day, a free event open to all ages. Food and crafts for sale.

When: Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Daniels area of Patapsco Valley State Park. Daniels Road will be closed for the event. Free parking and shuttle service will be available at Hollifield Station Elementary School, 8701 Stonehouse Drive, and the Crossroads Church of the Nazarene, 2750 Rogers Ave.

Info: Go to