History Matters: Young people enjoy a night out to see a play in Mount Airy in 1912

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100 Years Ago

A fine Ford in E.C.


"Quite a number of young people of our neighborhood attended the play in the Masonic Hall, Mt. Airy, on last Friday night.

Mrs. Annie Wheeler of Washington spent the week end with relatives in the neighborhood.


Mr. Charles DeLashmutt attended the automobile show in Baltimore on Tuesday and purchased for himself a fine Ford Automobile.

75 Years Ago


In the Times there was a story about a recent snow storm:

"Lack of Snow Plows and Highway Equipment Bring Criticism of Officials.

With an unusual snowfall for this time of year, Maryland found itself locked in, roads blocked, communications crippled and a dreadful want of necessary equipment to clear the highways leading to the principal cities and commuities. Amazing drifts from four to eight feed accumulated. Not a snow plow was in sight and the feeble efforts of worthy taxpayers armed with shovels went to naught.

Cars Stranded in Drifts: In many ways the snowfall and its results were astonishing. One might ride along for several miles without encountering any difficulty when, all of a sudden, a six-foot drift would loom in front of him. It was hard to get traction. And while one car was in the process of being extricated, the road behind would be blocked with new traffic. ... . On the Clarksville pike, workmen were continually opening the drifts, some of which piled as high as fifteen feet. ... ."

50 Years Ago


POW on the boulevard

"Civil War Battle to be Re-Enacted Here: Ellicott City will the scene of a Civil War Centennial Reenactment on Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13, 1962. the Howard County Historical Society is sponsoring and staging the pageant to be entitled "The Raid of Ellicott's Mills."

Roy O. Peterson is general chairman of the Historical Society's Civil War pageant. He announced that there will be four events in commemoration of the Yankee capture of the steam gun from the Confederates in may, a century ago.

'The purpose of this endeavor' said Mr. Peterson, 'will be to focus public attention on the historical significance of the town and county and to stimulate interest in the activities of the Howard County Historical Society and its community efforts.'

On May 12 at 1:00 P.M. a rifle match will be held for the public by the North-South Skirmish Association Saturday evening, the members of the Historical Society and their guests will be the participants in a Blue-Gray costume ball. The festivities on Sunday will begin at 1:30 P.M. with a parade down the Main Street of Ellicott City followed by the "Raid" and capture of the steam gun, which will be based in fact. ... .

"Mrs. Joseph B. Rogers is chairman of the Blue-Gray ball. The historical research was made by Louis D. Clark, chairman at the Civil War Centennial Committee of the Howard County Historical Society."


The steam gun is an interesting piece of Civil War history. This Confederate war materiel was reported to be a steam driven machine gun that would spit out 200 rounds a minute. But Gen. Butler, who was in charge of the Union soldiers guarding the Thomas Viaduct in Elkridge, heard the gun was being taken from Baltimore to Harpers Ferry. Butler and his men captured the Winans Steam Gun as it was being taken through Ellicott City and so the gun became a POW. However, important pieces of the gun were removed from the gun before it was captured by the North.

Today, you can see a replica of the steam gun in lower Elkridge, at the corner of Old Washington Blvd. and U.S. #1, (with the flags and gray historical marker). Yes, it is in disrepair, but there's currently a group of local citizens trying to revamp the replica steam gun, but I can't recall which, or who told me about the rescue effort.

I guess I heard about the effort out on the "street," which in history-buff vernacular means from someone at a historical society, library, at a county event, the B&O, or in the grocery store, in case you were picturing trench-coated, slightly nerdy characters standing on seedy street corners trying to score history tidbits. Anyway, if anyone has contact info for this group, please forward it on.