Historic Information

Many of the buildings that Waverly OEC manages appear on the historic register. Waverly buildings have seen Ellicott City grow from a small mill town to the community it is today, and each tells unique story about the history of the town, the state, and in some cases, the country.

This page describes what is currently known about the history of the buildings. Our knowledge is evolving, so please contact us if have additional information to share about the structures or the people who lived or worked in them.

8086 Main Street — The John Williams House

This frame building dates to 1838 and appears on the Maryland Historic Trust’s list of properties for Howard County. The original owner — John Williams — sold it to Alexander McLaughlin, whose previous forays into Ellicott City real estate had not gone well. McLaughlin had purchased the Patapsco Hotel from the Ellicotts in the early 1830s and almost immediately gone bankrupt. The hotel, along with several other McLaughlin-owned buildings, was raffled off in a lottery approved by the General Assembly.

In 1890, the building was purchased by Henry Wooten, a prominent Ellicott City lawyer who also owned the historic Oak Lawn building on Court House Hill. Subsequent owners included Benjamin Mellor, “an enterprising businessman and inventor” who was largely responsible for bringing adequate firefighting equipment to Ellicott City.

In 1971, the building was converted for use as a law firm with retail space on the ground floor. The current occupant is the Asian reflexologist center Happy Feet.

8090 Main Street — Second Patapsco National Bank

The vaguely Romanesque building at 8090 Main Street was built by the Patapsco National Bank in 1887. The architect was Baltimore’s Charles Cassell, and Christian Rappanier was the general contractor. Cassell’s other buildings including the naval waterworks at Old Point Comfort, Virginia, and The Chapel on the campus of the University of Virginia. The lot itself was part of the McLaughlin lottery in 1834.

The building incorporated then-state-of-the-art security features, including Sargent and Greenleaf’s “burglar-proof locks” for the vault. The vault was placed in the middle of the building to better insulate it from fires in neighboring buildings and to protect it from would-be burglars who might drill through the exterior walls.

Other businesses at this location include Norton’s Drug Store, Patapsco Pharmacy, Rockhill Liquor, the Margaret Smith Gallery, and HorseSpirit Art Gallery. It is will soon house the Ellicott Distilling Company.

8133 Main Street — Fissel’s Stone Shop

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This pre-Civil War granite store shop has housed small business of many kinds for over 150 years, including the historic Fissell’s Stone Shop.  Retailers at this location have included Mumbles and Squeaks Toy Shoppe, which was in the space from the 1990s until 2013, followed by Craig Coyne Jewelers.

The building is now the location of the crafting and event enterprise Reclaimed by You.

8129 Main Street — Caplan’s Stone Shop

This building housed Caplan’s Stone Shop, a companion building to Fissell’s Stone Shop.  This property has been home to many businesses over the years, including Stillridge Herb Shop and the Little Sunshine Trading Company.

8129 is available for lease and will be ready for occupancy in the second quarter of 2019.

8137 Main Street — the Bank Building

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Known as “the Bank building,” this structure has over the years housed the Washington Trust Company, Commercial & Farmers Bank, and the Farmers & Merchant’s Bank.

As the home of the Washington Trust Company, the building saw commercial activity by some of the oldest white families in Maryland . Among the directors were William C. Dorsey, Thomas H. Gaither, William H. Gorman, Richard B. Owings, and E.J. Hammond. The Washington Trust Company failed during the early years of the Great Depression, in 1931 . The current Washington Trust Company in Rhode Island is unaffiliated.

In 1934, after the Washington Trust Company failed, the Commercial & Farmers Bank took over the premises, and in 1999 that bank merged in the Farmers & Merchants Bank. Farmers & Merchants merged into PNC Bank in 2007.

The building is now occupied by The Unusual Company, our favorite source of gelato and books, and before that it was the home of the Vintage Vault & Gallery, which took possession in 2015.

8180 Main Street — The Walker-Chandler House

This granite building dates to 1790 and was originally owned by Alexander Walker in the early days of the mills. The building was one of the largest on Main Street when it was built, and legend has it that wearing travelers would stop and ask for lodging. Alexander Walker did not care for such visitors, but good manners prevented him from turning visitors away outright. Instead, he gave them each a cheerless speech and grudgingly let them in. He later fell off the second floor porch and died. A disgruntled guest may have been to blame.

Through the years it has housed a tavern, Kinsey’s bootery, a Red Cross headquarters, C&P Telephone’s offices, Yates Record Store, a country store, and now, Syriana Cafe & Gallery.

8221 Main Street — The Ellicott

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This iconic Main Street building was the town’s film and stage theatre for much of its life. It features many of its original Art Deco-style details, including the marquee and the original ticket window.

The Ellicott theatre opened with 386 seats on July 18, 1941 and ran first run movies until 1960.  In 1970, it reopened briefly as Ellicott Theatre Art Movies, and in the mid-1990s it functioned as a live children’s theatre and performing arts center.  The building has housed a disco, a grocery store, a comic book store, and a gift shop.

Renovations are underway and it will soon reopen as the Ellicott City location of Miss Fit.

8229 Main Street — The Reedy Electric Building

The Reedy Electric building has one of the most interesting histories of any building on the street.  It housed the first Ford dealership in Ellicott City and the original owner, Robert Taylor, sold Model Ts from this building as early as 1921.  Paul Morsberger bought the building in 1926 and sold Fords here for the next 34 years, until his death in 1960.

The main floor of this building was the showroom, and we know that the dealers parked Model T Fords and Model A Fords just inside the large front windows.  The second floor was the repair shop. There was a wide tin square on the second floor near the cash registers that protected the floors from oil stains while cars were under repair. Employees got the vehicles to the second floor by rolling them up a ramp, the outlines of which are still visible on the interior wall at the back of the building

In 2019, the current owners of the Reedy Electric building received a Community Choice Award from Preservation Maryland for their renovation and restoration of the property.