Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

How Ellicott City's spirits lifted after a devastating flood — in 1972

How Ellicott City's spirits lifted after a devastating flood — in 1972

Ellicott City was definitely in the mood for a party in 1972. Fortunately, the town’s bicentennial celebration obliged.

Things certainly weren’t looking good in June, when Hurricane Agnes paid a devastating visit to the area. More than 80 Ellicott City homes were damaged by the floodwaters. Agnes was, as more than one astonished weather expert said, a “once-in-a-lifetime” storm (and we all know how well that statement held up). Spirits in Ellicott City were low.

But just four months later, in early October, the celebration of the town’s 200th birthday seemed to lift everyone. “I remember being in this same spot the day after Agnes,” Gov. Marvin Mandel said just before a...

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