On the anniversary of the devastating flood in historic Ellicott City, our Executive Director, Nicholas Redding reflects on Preservation Maryland’s year-long response and commitment to help the people of Ellicott City rebuild their historic community:

On the evening on Saturday, July 30, 2016, the center of historic Ellicott City, Maryland was devastated by a flood, one of the strongest in its 250 year history. In less than 90 minutes, the torrential rainstorm dropped over six inches of rain. In addition to threatening the lives of those trapped in the storm and in the buildings, the flood also presented dramatic challenges for preservationists concerned about the integrity of the resources in the National Register Historic District.

Preservation engineer, Mat Daw, responds to Ellicott City flood, 2016.

Preservation engineer, Mat Daw, responds to Ellicott City flood, 2016.

In the days and weeks that followed, Preservation Maryland moved quickly to support as many members of the historic Ellicott City community as possible. From engineering support to technical assistance and the establishment of a Preservation Resource Center, the 86-year old organization adapted to meet the needs of the community.

Conclusion of year-long disaster response effort

After Action Report: Ellicott City Maryland, Flood of 2016In August 2017, as the final act of its response, the organization is partnering with Historic Ellicott City, Inc. to distribute $50,000 in grants to deserving projects throughout the district.

Preservation Maryland is also pleased to announce the publication of an After Action Report on the organization’s involvement following the disaster which includes a review of what worked and what did not, as well as recommendations for non-profits and municipalities across the nation that are working to make their own historic communities more resilient to natural disasters. You can read and download the full report at: presmd.org/ecreport.

beyond ellicott city

Responding to the Ellicott City flood changed Preservation Maryland in ways that are innumerable to count. The organization is stronger because of its involvement. It was one of the most dramatic and exceptional financial challenges the organization ever accepted – but accepting the challenge has also vastly expanded its network of friends and supporters.

More importantly, the experience provided the organization the opportunity to reinforce the value of heritage in a community – even in a community devastated by disaster. Preservation was no longer just about wood windows and brick patterns; instead, preservation and history became the foundation upon which to rebuild the community itself. The history of the community was what defined this place and would be the defining character that would help it recover.

Preservation Maryland is proud to have played a small role in that story and is quietly preparing for whenever and wherever the next disaster may strike.

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Read the Ellicott City “After Action” Report