An Early Timeline in the Patapsco Valley

  • 1743 – William Cromwell surveys the metes and bounds of a tract of land on the Patapsco for Caleb and Edward Dorsey
  • 1761 – John Cornthwaite establishes Dismal Mill at present-day Ilchester
  • 1762 – Citizens of Elk Ridge Landing petition the Maryland Assembly for a town charter. Though unsuccessful, the petition makes an important–and prescient–point about change. “there is now a considerable Trade carried on (at the landing) and from its advantageous Situation would become a great Market for Grain if Merchants could have any ground on any tolerable terms for building warehouses and other Convenience for carrying on Trade there.”
  • 1771 – The Ellicotts purchase land in the Patapsco Valley
  • 1779- The earliest know drawing of Ellicott’s Lower Mills is made by George Ellicott.
  • 1806 –  Ellicotts found the Iron Rolling and Slitting Mill.
  • 1807 – The Baltimore and Fredericktown Turnpike  Road, promoted by the Ellicotts, connects to the National Road.
  • 1808 – William Patterson and others establish Union Manufacturing Company for producing textiles on the Patapsco River. By 1825 the company will operate seventy-six power looms and four thousand spindles. The company will operate until 1887.
  • 1815 – The Patapsco Cotton Factory is incorporated by the Maryland General Assembly.
  • 1824 – The Thistle Mill, a textile manufacturer, opens at Ilchester.
  • 1828 – The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad raises a trestle across the river to Patapsco Mills.
  • 1837 – The Panic of 1837, tied to Andrew Jackson’s attacks on the Bank of the United State, seriously affects the Ellicott family’s investments.
  • 1840 – Thomas Ely and his four brothers build the first mill on the Patapsco River at the site originally named Elysville. It will eventual becomes known as Alberton and subsequently Daniels as ownership changes hands.
  • 1845 – Fire destroys the Avalon Nail and Iron Works.
  • 1856 – Orange Grove Flour Mill opens.
  • 1868 – Great flood on the Patapsco devastates towns and industries.

pictured top to bottom:

Union Manufacturing Company
Thistle Mill
Ellicott City

Avalon Nail & Iron Works

Primary Source: Henry K. Sharp, author of The Patapso River Valley: Cradle of the Industrial Revolution in Maryland

Preserve. Protect. Interpret. Restore

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Inc. is dedicated to preserving, protecting, interpreting and restoring the environment, history and culture of the Patapsco Valley between Daniels and Elkridge, Maryland.

Natural processes, natural beauty, and history combine to create a unique opportunity for neighboring residents and visitors from across the state and beyond, to understand and enjoy Maryland’s most dramatic river valley. Through the efforts of many partners, the public appreciates the significance of the valley’s heritage, understands its history, and enjoys the experience it has to offer.

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