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Lego enthusiasts recreate Ellicott City in holiday train garden

For Howard Magazine

Sadly absent last holiday season after the 2016 summer flood, Ellicott City’s Lego train display is back on track and as fresh as ever.

Built with at least half a million plastic Lego bricks and more than 500 hours of labor, the display at the B&O Ellicott City Station Museum depicts the station and surrounding buildings on the Maryland Avenue corner of Main Street. This year, visitors can operate the trains on their own, and children can create holiday ornaments from Legos, which they can keep for a modest cost.

The elaborate display is the brainchild of Ellicott City native Ed Kohl, a member of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area Lego Train Club who launched the tradition six years ago with other enthusiasts. More than 40 club members craft Lego train displays for various shows and venues in Maryland and Virginia. About 15 were involved in creating the Ellicott City display this year.

Among them was Todd Hardy, who owns Classic Plastic Bricks in the Antique Depot across the street. He crafted the model of Antique Depot and helped ferry in supplies in his truck, fondly dubbed the “Lego Uber.”

Hardy owned a collectible toy store in Reisterstown before it evolved into his niche store seven years ago and moved to historic Ellicott City. He’s been a Lego enthusiast since childhood, he says, because “you can build anything.”

“And unlike Lego [displays at Legoland resorts and in stores], we don’t use any glue, so we can take apart anything we get tired of,” Kohl adds. “I enjoy the artistic challenge of using only the pieces we have.”

Kohl says he most enjoys making the models that represent Ellicott City. This year, the builders expanded the display to a second level, creating “two displays in one.”

“And it’s always fun to see the how the kids enjoy and react to the display,” he says.

Kohl and the other members retrieve their Legos, which they donate, at the end of the season; the museum supplies, stores and maintains the train engines and display table.

The holiday train display is located on the upper floor of the railroad museum, of which the county assumed full management in September. Under the purview of the Department of Parks and Recreation’s living history and heritage program, museum admission is free.

Find out more about the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area Lego Train Club at

Lego holiday train display

Through Jan. 28. Free.

B&O Ellicott City Station Museum, 3711 Maryland Avenue, Ellicott City

Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.


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