Firehouse Museum

Firehouse Museum, Ellicott City, Maryland

Firehouse Museum

At the turn of the 20th Century, Ellicott City recognized the need to help improve the fire safety of its growing community. During this time the only defense against a blazing fire were buckets of water, the city council and mayor saw the potential of a fire department.

A New Beginning
In 1896, on the corner of what is now Main Street and Church Road, the fire house was constructed. In the beginning it only housed ropes and buckets. After many debates about the town’s safety, the fire department started using more efficient methods of fighting fires. For example: the two-wheel hose reel and a horse power drawn gas pump. The fire department later purchased its first fire truck in 1924.

Chief Shipley
The first fire chief was B. Harrison Shipley, who served from 1935 to 1957. He was a wonderful leader who was very enthusiastic about his career. He helped pump hoses as a young man and was part of the first twenty-four hour protection plan. On his deathbed, Shipley often spoke of his days with the fire department. He died on September 25, 1967.

Firehouse Ghost
Shortly after Shipley’s death, the fire department started reporting strange occurrences happening at the firehouse. From chairs moving on their own, to phantom footsteps, and televisions turning on and off by themselves. It was believed that Shipley had returned to his beloved firehouse. Most of the firemen believed it was his ghost, still many refused to stay alone in the fire station. One fireman that did stay by himself reported that the firehouse dog chased after someone, only to find that he was alone.

In 1998, the fire department relocated to Montgomery Rd. Since 1991 the Church Road firehouse has been a fire museum.

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Taylor, T. (2001) The Haunting of America: Ghosts & Legends of America’s Haunted Past. IL: White Chapel Productions Press

Wise, M. (2006). Images of America: Ellicott City.Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing