The year 1888 was an exhilarting time in America. George Eastman formed Eastman Kodak and patented the Kodax box camera. The Washington Monument opened to the general public. And the presidential incumbent candidate Grover Cleveland won the popular vote, but lost the race to Benjamin Harrison, who won the electoral vote.
Amid all the excitement in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 1888, Ellicott City had cause for celebration — the establishment of the Volunteer Fire Company of Ellicott City No. 1, a bucket brigade that would service the entire county. Later, the name changed to the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department (ECVFD).
In 1889, Howard County's first fire station was built at 3829 Church Road perched atop a hill overlooking downtown's main street. In 1924, the station moved to 8320 Main St. near the current Ellicott Mills Brewing Co. and restaurant. Then later, it moved into a building on main street that is currently occupied by The Wine Bin. The original building still stands today and houses the Firehouse Museum. To commemorate the Fire Department's almost 13 decades of service to our community, a series of three community events have been planned.
First, the department will host an Open House on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 1 to 4 p.m. at FIre Station No. 2 at 4150 Montgomery Road. The free, family-oriented event will feature firehouse tours, children's face painting, an auto extraction demonstration, kitchen safety information and "Annabell," the antique fire truck.
On Saturday morning, Oct. 19, main street in downtown Ellicott City will be closed from 10 to 11 a.m. for a parade complete with fire trucks, a pipe and drum band, Scout troops, marching bands, singers and more. The parade starts at the corner of Main Street and Ellicott Mills at 10 a.m. and will commence by the Phoenix restaurant at 11 a.m.
The celebrations will conclude in the evening of Saturday, Oct. 19, from 7 to 11 p.m. with a Fire and Ice Celebration Gala dinner and party at the Armory (next to Long Gate Shopping Center). Tickets are $50 per person and include a dinner courtesy of Carrabba's Italian Grill, beer, wine, live and silent auctions and a DJ spinning music to dance the night away.
For information about the Fire Department's 125th anniversity events or to purchase tickets, go to the Department's 125th Anniversary celebration website at http://www.ecmdvfd.org or call 410-465-6700. To learn more about the history of the fire department, go to the ECVFD website at http://www.ellicottcityvfa.com.
Last year, super storm Sandy thwarted the efforts of the Ellicott City Assembly of God to hold its Fall Festival. Undaunted, the church is planning to hold the Fall Festival again on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church, 10600 Frederick Road in Ellicott City. Outreach Ministry Coordinator Renee Moreland told me, "This year's event will be bigger and better than ever with a hayride wagon, kids games, a mechanical bull ride, cotton candy, popcorn, hotdogs, kid's inflatables, as well as some community businesses selling seasonal items." For more information, call the church office at 410-461-4555.
Want to learn more about Maryland's rich agricultural history and current farming practices? The University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) is hosting a free, fun-filled day on the farm Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Central Maryland Research and Education Center's Clarksville Facility located at 4240 Folly Quarter Road in Ellicott City. The open house is an interactive day of fun and learning for all ages. Young kids will be offered passports to earn prizes by visiting the many informational stations. Middle- and high-school students can also earn prizes for successfully completing an educational scavenger hunt. To learn more about AGNR and its open house go to the AGNR website at agnr.umd.edu/openhouse or call 301-596-9330.