WHEN A HORSE BEAT STEAM


| March/April 1978


In the early days of steam power, when the railroad locomotive was rather new in the U.S., a famous race was run between a gray horse and an 'iron horse,' which the gray horse won.

It became a famous race, and in Maryland they still tell the story. The date was August 28, 1830, the day when a new small locomotive, the Tom Thumb, was being given its first run on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Attached to the Tom Thumb was an open car, and in the car were directors of the B & O and their friends, on the way from Baltimore to Ellicott City for this debut. The unplanned race began near Ellicott City. Here is the story, from a historical account:

Andrew Ellicott, who is honored as a historic personage in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, founded a town in Maryland with his brothers, Joseph and John.

Ellicott City grew from the farm which the brothers created on the shores of the Patapsco River after their purchase of 700 acres in 1772 nearly 20 years before Andrew became a resident of Lancaster.

The Howard District of Ann Arundel County was formed in 1840 with judicial powers, county commissioners, a sheriff and other regular officers, but without representation as a separate county. Ellicott Mills easily won the honor of becoming the site of the Court House for the new district. In 1851 the district became Howard County, named after John Eager Howard. A city charter was secured for Ellicott Mills in 1867 and the name was changed to Ellicott City.






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