Learn the History of Patapsco Valley State Park and the Area Around It


Patapsco Heritage Greenway’s hiSTORY Days will return Nov. 6 with a week’s worth of events aimed at increasing the local community’s understanding of the environment, history and culture of the Patapsco Valley.

“There are so many different events and stories that happened here,” said Victoria Goodman, a Catonsville resident and member of the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, an advocacy that works to promote the preservation of the Patapsco Valley and its history. “We can’t do it all in one day.”

The series of events kicks off in Ellicott City at the Howard County Historical Society Museum on Nov. 6 with a baseball-themed reception featuring a talk by longtime journalist and “Baseball in Baltimore” author Tom Flynn and exhibits from the Smithsonian Museum’s Hometowne Teams exhibit.

On Nov. 7, the public is invited to begin the day honoring the valley’s history of miliary service by attending a parade through downtown Ellicott City featuring re-enactors, fife and drums and marching bands. Later in the day, the festivities will move east to the Benjamin Banneker Museum & Historical Park in Oella for storytellers, hikes, tours and other family activities in honor of the first African-American astronomer and scientist.

Brightview: Rolling Hills will host a presentation in the afternoon on Nov. 8 focusing on the history of streetcars in the Catonsville area.

On Nov. 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., authors and historians Geoffrey Buckley and J. Morgan Grove will talk on how the Patapsco Valley State Park — the first state park in Maryland — was formed. The foundation for the park was a donation of 43 acres of his Hilton Estate in Catonsville by John Gleen in 1907, according to a flier from Patapsco Heritage Greenway.

A Nov. 10 discussion led by Howard County historian Fred Dorsey will teach area residents about the county’s cemeteries, many of which date back to colonial times and the Civil War era.

Events on Nov. 12 will be dedicated to the work of late Catonsville resident Victor Gustav Bloede. Bloede, an inventor, businessman and philanthropist, built an electric-generating system at Gray’s Mill, along the Patapsco River. He also held the patent for the glue used by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing on postage stamps.

Those who find themselves pining for the ghosts and goblins of Halloween on Nov. 13 can attend a special Friday the 13th talk at the Executive Suites conference center about local ghosts and haunted sites.

The final hiSTORY Day will include, a group hike and wildlife tour from Mt. Pleasant in Woodstock and a talk at the Ellicott City Colored School on Ellicott City’s black community, the Fels Lane community, which burned down in 1965.

All of the events, except the Nov. 6 reception and the Banneker birthday celebration, are free, Goodman said.

The hope, she said, is that the community will attend multiple events and awareness of the valley’s historical significance will grow.

The group’s mission is “to be able to tell people the [valley’s] story,” she said. “That’s why we’re here.”