1914: BURNING BRIDGE
A fire June 7, 1914, destroyed the wooden bridge over the Patapsco River in Ellicott City that provided a vital link for farmers hauling produce and livestock to Baltimore. The blaze apparently was sparked by a cigarette tossed from the window of a car that was following another vehicle with a leaky gas tank. "Passersby reported hearing a violent explosion followed at once by a burst of flames on the bridge," according to one account. After firefighters from Ellicott City and Catonsville put out the blaze, "all that remained of the Howard County section were charred timbers and the forlorn stone abutments."
[Source: Remembrances of Passing Days, B.H. Shipley Jr., as told to William K. Klingaman]