A Few Odd Minutes in Howard County: B&O Railroad Museum


My name is Ed Lilly, I am the assistant site
manager of the B and O Railroad Museum, Ellicott city Station. This is the oldest surviving railroad station
in America, and the original terminus of the first 13 miles of commercial railroad in the
United States. The first place you can ride as a passenger
on a train in America was from Baltimore to then Ellicott’s Mills, which is today Ellicott
City. Building was built in, uh, completed in 1830. Passenger service actually ended here in 1949. During the Civil War, obviously all of the
rail lines in the Northern region were used to transport arms and troops. Lots of areas in town, especially during the
Civil War, were used to deal with the wounded when they were coming through. Most of the churches, the opera house, which
was across the street. This building, of course, was where they were
headed to get on the train to be able to go into Baltimore for more medical care. And then of course their bodies would have
come back through here as well. Because of the activity here in the past we
like to bring reenactors here, and there are stories of reenactors being set up here and
spending the night here. Sometimes they’ll go out for a smoke overnight
and they’ll be talking to another reenactor who they don’t really recognize and come to
find out the person that they think they’re talking to as part of their group is not part
of their group. Obviously, probably somebody from the long
ago past. 2016, on the anniversary of the, Battle of
Monocacy, the retreat from the Battle of Monocacy when the troops came through town, there was
several of us working that day. We were on the lower level in the gift shop
area, and it sounded like about ten or twelve people walking around creaking the floor boards
above us and there was nobody on the second level at the time. About thirteen years ago, I was employed by
Howard County Recreation and Parks, doing an inventory of artifacts here. I had come in early. I was on the second floor here. And I heard a loud crash downstairs. I came to the top of the steps and I yelled
down that I was upstairs, just checking to see who had come in. Nobody responded. So I yelled again and said “It’s Ed. I’m upstairs. Anybody down there?” Nobody said anything. So I decided I needed to go down there and
investigate what happened and what created the noise. So, when I got to the top of the steps and
started down the steps, I felt like I was either stepping on something or something
was at my foot and I felt like I was going to trip. And I caught myself on the railing here. Often times people that are here by themselves
in the office on the lower level will hear what sounds like footsteps and boxes being
moved back and forth across the, uh, the upper floor. And it was a freight station, of course, and
that would have been a big activity We had a number of incidents at the station
associated with the restrooms. We have automatic spigots that generally are
normally supposed to come on when hands go under. But, oftentimes the water starts running on
its own, like there are hands there when there aren’t. In the men’s room here we’ve had a situation
with the men’s urinal. My experience has always been, I like to try
to keep flushing it to keep the water moving so it’s a fresher smell when you come into
the men’s room. And, on the day that we had the unusual experiences
with the Monocacy anniversary, I had come in. All’s I wanted to do was get out of the station
after all the experiences with the floorboards creaking. So, I ran in here to wash my hands before
I left. I’m washing my hands. The urinal flushes all on its own. So, I just stop what I’m doing. I look up and I say “Thanks, guys.” Because I’m thinking that the guys, the spirits
of the union troops that are still here know that my routine is to flush the urinal every
time I come in here, which was the case, except for that day. So I just looked up and said “Thanks, guys,”
dried my hands and was out of here like a shot. It’s possible, since I had actually my relatives
serve in the Patapsco Guard during the Civil War. Maybe it’s some of my relatives that are still
here.

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