On land donated by Judge Dobbin in 1870, the Elkridge Assembly Rooms were built as a “neighborhood parlor” intended specifically as a vehicle for healing any separations within the neighborhood that might have been caused by the War. Here, neighbors were able to “assemble” in a common meeting place, which offered social activities such as readings, dances, theatricals and games. The B & O train brought Baltimoreans to Relay Station to attend these events. Event tickets were printed with Baltimore train timetables. Posters from past theater productions, dances, and events adorn the walls of the Hall. The Elkridge Assembly Rooms have been enjoyed and treasured by the community ever since.


The Thomas Viaduct, a stone B & O railroad bridge on the Washington-Baltimore rail line completed in 1835, allowed easy rail access to the largely undeveloped and unpopulated region across the Patapsco River from Baltimore. In 1840, the Ellicott family sold nine acres of land to Baltimore City Supreme Bench Judge George W. Dobbin. Judge Dobbin was the first to build a summer home on the Hill and soon fellow attorneys and friends also built summer homes nearby, providing the basis for the name “Lawyers Hill.” Elkridge did not escape the Civil War. Union troops camped on Lawyers Hill to guard the Thomas Viaduct. Families in the area were divided by the Civil War.


Elkridge is the oldest settlement in Howard County, Maryland. Its location on the Patapsco River, which was then navigable to the Chesapeake Bay, was a key element in its growth. The settlement existed prior to passage of a 1733 law to erect a town at Elkridge Landing and was initially developed as a site where planters could bring their tobacco for shipment to England. Later, pig iron from the local iron furnaces was shipped as well. In 1824, Elkridge burned and most of the village was destroyed. Transportation, initially on the river but later by turnpike and eventually the B & O Railroad, brought continual growth.

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