The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded $250,000 to Preservation Maryland to partner with Howard County on the revitalization of the historic Ellicott City Jail, a circa 1850 structure at 1 Emory Street. The grant will be used to assess feasibility for reuse of the Jail as well as architectural/engineering, stabilization or rehabilitation activities that support future reuse.

“Ellicott City has always perfectly balanced old and new. As we explored plans to reuse the historic Courthouse in Ellicott City, it became clear that the old Jail on the adjacent property provided a unique opportunity to preserve and examine a piece of our history,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.“This grant award is a great first step in the process, and we’re grateful to Preservation Maryland for their partnership on this effort and commitment to moving this project forward.”

“As a non-profit working to protect unique and irreplaceable heritage while concurrently creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable future, we are thrilled to receive this grant to help us explore ways to use this space that best address some of Ellicott City’s biggest challenges, including respecting the need to preserve historic assets – some of which have challenging histories – while acknowledging a changing climate,” said Nicholas Redding, president & CEO of Preservation Maryland. “Our work is all about protecting our past and investing in our future. We consider this grant a ‘down payment’ on a much larger project at the Jail and look forward to working with the County and the community as we continue this project.”

While the grant supports initial design services and stabilization, Preservation Maryland also plans to utilize state, federal, and private funds to complete the projects; the organization is currently pursuing a bond bill sponsored by Senator Katie Fry Hester in the amount of $500,000 in the 2022 Legislative Session.

Howard County Jail

The historic Jail will be revitalized to support the surrounding community while the County and nonprofit explore use as a center for climate, heritage, and preservation studies. Due to the challenges confronted by Ellicott City, the location is an ideal place to site this type of effort and reuse a vacant historic structure in the process. The project intends to engage diverse voices and provide contemplative public spaces to commemorate and memorialize those once incarcerated on-site and those who were tragically lynched on the grounds of this site.

“As Ellicott City enters its next 250 years, I’m excited to work with Preservation Maryland and explore future opportunities for the Ellicott City Jail,” said Senator Katie Fry Hester. “This award builds upon our work over the last three years to revitalize and repurpose state and local structures.”

“Ellicott City is known for its rich history, and we’re excited to partner with the County and Preservation Maryland to ensure the Ellicott City Jail is repurposed to benefit the larger community,” said Delegate Courtney Watson.

“Preservation Howard County is extremely pleased with the grant awarded for the preservation of the Jail, an initiative that we have been intimately involved in from the start,” said Tara Simpson president of the Board of Preservation Howard County. “It is paramount we work together to protect this building and honor its rich and painful history, safeguarding it for future generations. It is also our hope that the same level of care, thoughtfulness, and effort be devoted to the rest of the courthouse complex and surrounding properties as we move forward in rezoning and repurposing the area adjacent to the historic Jail.”