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B & O Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station

February 22, 2011
Beth Meyer
B&O Railroad Museum - Ellicott City
2711 Maryland Avenue
Ellicott City, MD 21043
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At the B & O Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station, your child can sit in an actual red caboose. This small, unprepossessing museum is steeped in history. The Ellicott City Station is the oldest surviving railroad station in America. Built in 1831, it was the original terminus of the first 13 miles of commercial railroad in the United States.

Pay your admission in the Main Depot Building, pick up a self-guided tour map and explore on your own. The Main Depot Building was constructed in 1830 to 1831. On the first floor, you will find the Freight Agent's Quarters & Office. It was originally designed to hold freight but around 1840 was converted into living quarters for the freight agent and his family. All of the furniture in the Main Depot Building is period but not original to the building. Signage tells the history of Ellicott City and the significance of the B&O during the Civil War.

Upstairs, you will find the Office of the Superintendent of Construction, the Ticket office, and the Freight Room/Main Waiting Area. Of these, only the Telegraph and Ticket Office held any interest to my daughters, ages six and 10. They were fascinated with the clicking and transcribing of the telegraph and learned all about the Morse code. My husband and I, in contrast, found the story of the Viaduct, the biggest bridge then in America quite interesting. The bridge was constructed by Benjamin H. Latrobe, Jr., the foremost railroad engineer of the 19th century and son of the designer of the White House. This temporary exhibit on the Viaduct called Roads to Rails will be on view until April 3. It will be replaced by Civil War 150th Anniversary: The War Came by Train from April 16 through November 6, 2011.

Directly, outside the second floor of the building, kids are invited to ring the bell (once only). The path outside the building runs directly along the train track. The girls were exhilarated to be running alongside a train and came to life. They loved the 1927 Red Caboose, especially sitting in the upstairs cupola seats. It was truly a magical moment for them.

Afterwards, we went to the Freight House, built in 1885 and designed by Francis Baldwin. On request, you can see a 12-minute film The Great Railroad about the beginnings of the B&O. The Freight House also stores a 40 foot "HO" scale model train depicting the first 13 miles of the railroad track as it would have looked in the 1830s. At the end of the film, there is a light show highlighting different landmarks along the track.

The entire museum took only an hour. My six-year old had to revisit the caboose. The girls described the museum as "really neat." Back at the entrance, there is a small shop with train-related toys, postcards, books, and T-shirts.

Note: There is stroller parking on the first floor. The entire Main Depot Building and Freight House are handicapped accessible through outside ramps.

We decided to make a day of Ellicott City. We had a very good lunch at Johnny's Bistro, which had tasty sandwiches, soups, and pizzas. Although my husband and I remembered Ellicott City for its Antiques Mall, we were amazed by the number of kid-friendly boutiques including Sweet Cascades Chocolatier, Silver Arrow Homemade Fudge and Candy Shop, Forget- Me- Not Factory (an enormous store almost entirely devoted to fairies), and Mumbles & Squeaks Toy Gallery. I am already planning a return trip to Ellicott City for my kids' birthday presents.

Additional Information

  • The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Closed on major holidays.
  • Admission is $5/adults; $4/seniors (60+) and $3/children (2 to 12). Combination tickets are available when you visit the B&O Museum in Baltimore. Rates are $16/adults, $14/seniors (60+) and $10/children (2 to 12).
  • Restrooms are on site and both have changing tables.
  • Directions and Parking: Located at 2711 Maryland Avenue in Ellicott City, MD, the Station is adjacent to Main Street in the historic district of Ellicott City, Maryland and is easily accessible from Interstate 95 and the Baltimore Beltway, I-695. There is 2 hour metered parking across the street from the Museum and 8 hour metered parking further along the railroad tracks.

Comments

Submitted by ourkids on
They have a Civil War soldier in uniform there on weekends in the spring who was really great with kids. He patiently showed my kids items from his knapsack and really brought the history to a level they could understand and appreciate. Then he enlisted them in the Union Army and they got enlistment papers, and were fascinated as he filled them out with a pen dipped into ink. My daughter loved it when he let her hold an antique photograph of a lady in a Civil War dress, and he explained all the layers of clothes she wore, and talked about what girls did back then. Later outside of the station he gave a really cool demonstration about the history of the Civil War (not a boring lecture-all the kids there were fascinated) and on how hard it was to load and fire a musket, and really fired it. (loud, but don't worry, no bullets!) That was the highlight of my kids week! - Terry K.
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Submitted by ourkids on
The Ellicott City site is a lot more affordable than the main B&O museum in Baltimore and the perfect size for kids who are interested but not obsessed with trains. (I have 2 girls!) - Trish S.
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Submitted by Lizespo@yahoo.com on
We really enjoyed the Ellicott City Train Museum. We went for the Lego exhibit which was quite impressive. It was easy to park and not too much walking for the little guys. We will definitely return!
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We really enjoyed the Ellicott City Train Museum. We went for the Lego exhibit which was quite impressive. It was easy to park and not too much walking for the little guys. We will definitely return!

By: Lizespo on Tue Sep 2, 2014
The Ellicott City site is a lot more affordable than the main B&O museum in Baltimore and the perfect size for kids who are interested but not obsessed with trains. (I have 2 girls!) - Trish S.

By: ourkidsadmin on Fri May 10, 2013
The Ellicott City site is a lot more affordable than the main B&O museum in Baltimore and the perfect size for kids who are interested but not obsessed with trains. (I have 2 girls!) - Trish S.

By: casperv on Fri May 10, 2013
The Ellicott City site is a lot more affordable than the main B&O museum in Baltimore and the perfect size for kids who are interested but not obsessed with trains. (I have 2 girls!) - Trish S.

By: casperv on Fri May 10, 2013
The Ellicott City site is a lot more affordable than the main B&O museum in Baltimore and the perfect size for kids who are interested but not obsessed with trains. (I have 2 girls!) - Trish S.

By: casperv on Fri May 10, 2013
The Ellicott City site is a lot more affordable than the main B&O museum in Baltimore and the perfect size for kids who are interested but not obsessed with trains. (I have 2 girls!) - Trish S.

By: ourkids on Fri May 10, 2013
They have a Civil War soldier in uniform there on weekends in the spring who was really great with kids. He patiently showed my kids items from his knapsack and really brought the history to a level they could understand and appreciate. Then he enlisted them in the Union Army and they got enlistment papers, and were fascinated as he filled them out with a pen dipped into ink. My daughter loved it when he let her hold an antique photograph of a lady in a Civil War dress, and he explained all the layers of clothes she wore, and talked about what girls did back then. Later outside of the station he gave a really cool demonstration about the history of the Civil War (not a boring lecture-all the kids there were fascinated) and on how hard it was to load and fire a musket, and really fired it. (loud, but don't worry, no bullets!) That was the highlight of my kids week! - Terry K.

By: ourkidsadmin on Fri May 10, 2013
They have a Civil War soldier in uniform there on weekends in the spring who was really great with kids. He patiently showed my kids items from his knapsack and really brought the history to a level they could understand and appreciate. Then he enlisted them in the Union Army and they got enlistment papers, and were fascinated as he filled them out with a pen dipped into ink. My daughter loved it when he let her hold an antique photograph of a lady in a Civil War dress, and he explained all the layers of clothes she wore, and talked about what girls did back then. Later outside of the station he gave a really cool demonstration about the history of the Civil War (not a boring lecture-all the kids there were fascinated) and on how hard it was to load and fire a musket, and really fired it. (loud, but don't worry, no bullets!) That was the highlight of my kids week! - Terry K.

By: casperv on Fri May 10, 2013
They have a Civil War soldier in uniform there on weekends in the spring who was really great with kids. He patiently showed my kids items from his knapsack and really brought the history to a level they could understand and appreciate. Then he enlisted them in the Union Army and they got enlistment papers, and were fascinated as he filled them out with a pen dipped into ink. My daughter loved it when he let her hold an antique photograph of a lady in a Civil War dress, and he explained all the layers of clothes she wore, and talked about what girls did back then. Later outside of the station he gave a really cool demonstration about the history of the Civil War (not a boring lecture-all the kids there were fascinated) and on how hard it was to load and fire a musket, and really fired it. (loud, but don't worry, no bullets!) That was the highlight of my kids week! - Terry K.

By: casperv on Fri May 10, 2013
They have a Civil War soldier in uniform there on weekends in the spring who was really great with kids. He patiently showed my kids items from his knapsack and really brought the history to a level they could understand and appreciate. Then he enlisted them in the Union Army and they got enlistment papers, and were fascinated as he filled them out with a pen dipped into ink. My daughter loved it when he let her hold an antique photograph of a lady in a Civil War dress, and he explained all the layers of clothes she wore, and talked about what girls did back then. Later outside of the station he gave a really cool demonstration about the history of the Civil War (not a boring lecture-all the kids there were fascinated) and on how hard it was to load and fire a musket, and really fired it. (loud, but don't worry, no bullets!) That was the highlight of my kids week! - Terry K.

By: casperv on Fri May 10, 2013
They have a Civil War soldier in uniform there on weekends in the spring who was really great with kids. He patiently showed my kids items from his knapsack and really brought the history to a level they could understand and appreciate. Then he enlisted them in the Union Army and they got enlistment papers, and were fascinated as he filled them out with a pen dipped into ink. My daughter loved it when he let her hold an antique photograph of a lady in a Civil War dress, and he explained all the layers of clothes she wore, and talked about what girls did back then. Later outside of the station he gave a really cool demonstration about the history of the Civil War (not a boring lecture-all the kids there were fascinated) and on how hard it was to load and fire a musket, and really fired it. (loud, but don't worry, no bullets!) That was the highlight of my kids week! - Terry K.

By: ourkids on Fri May 10, 2013