50 Years Ago (week of Dec. 15-21, 1940):

Howard County holiday shoppers in 1940 had a variety of gifts to choose from in Main Street, Ellicott City, shops. Bladen Yates' Hardware Store offered 32-piece china dinnerware sets for $3.39. Blank's offered men's leather gloves for $1.19. Caplan's was selling Manhattan shirts for $1.95 and lace tablecloths for $1.98. Big spenders could go to Taylor's and buy a man's solid gold cameo ring for $10.50 (terms available) or a 5-diamond engagement ring for $49.75.

Aliens living in Howard County were warned this week that they had only until Dec. 26 to register at the post office. The Ellicott City Post Office was the only one in the county qualified to handle the county's alien registration. Failure to register could result in a $1,000 fine, six months' imprisonment, or both.

25 Years Ago (week of Dec. 12-Dec. 18, 1965):

Howard County was allotted $9,000 in War on Poverty money this week to be used after the first of the year for a program that would provide basic education for illiterate and semiliterate adults in the county. The 1960 Census revealed that 5,622 adults in the county received less than an eighth-grade education. The proposed program would provide two two-hour class sessions a week for 18 weeks.

Tyson Square Management Corp. received verbal approval this week from the Board of Zoning Appeals to construct offices on the Mount Ida property on Church Road in Ellicott City. Construction of the proposed U-shaped grouping of buildings around a parking lot meant that the Mount Ida house would have to be torn down. Area residents loudly protested the planned destruction of the building, which had been declared "not historically significant" by Wilbur Hunter of the Peale Museum in Baltimore. Residents also expressed concern that the presence of the offices would generate too much traffic for the roads in that area. (Note: The "historically insignificant" Mount Ida was built in 1828 for William Ellicott, grandson of one of Ellicott City's founders, Andrew Ellicott. It was the last "Ellicott home" to be built in the area. The house still stands today, minus some of its original architectural features. The house was used for office space a number of years ago but is currently vacant.)

Information for this column was culled from the Howard County Historical Society's library.

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