Howard County, located between Baltimore and Washington in the “heart” of Maryland, enjoys the best of everything: a rich, diverse history – including the first railroad terminus in America and the oldest remaining stone curved bridge in the world – and ranking as one of the country’s best places to live. Today’s Howard County is a successful blend of urban and rural, old and new.
The county was ranked the fifth-wealthiest by median household income in the United States for 2011 by the US Census Bureau. The main population center of Columbia/Ellicott City was named second among Money magazine’s 2010 survey of “America’s Best Places to Live.” Howard County’s schools frequently rank first in Maryland as measured by standardized test scores and graduation rates.
Originally a farming community within the mill town of Ellicott City (now the county seat) and alongside shipping port in Elkridge Landing, the county was named after John Eager Howard, a Revolutionary War hero and the fifth Governor of Maryland. The county contains many valuable historic sites and homes.
Blandair Farm, 300 acres of former farmland in Columbia, takes its name from Theodorick Bland, a colorful figure in early Maryland politics. Most of its existing buildings date from the mid–19th century, and include a granary, springhouse, tenant houses and the brick main house.
Historic Waverly Mansion is associated with many of the founding families of Maryland and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nathan Dorsey, son of Colonel John Dorsey, built the main part of the mansion between 1756 and 1764. The property went on to be the home of two Maryland governors. This historic site features mid-18th century architecture, meticulously restored interior rooms, modern amenities and beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens.
The arts have a strong presence in Howard County, as well. Ballet Royale Institute, for example, has become the premier dance academy in the metropolitan Baltimore and DC areas, serving dance students as well as the local community.
Howard County spends 62 percent of its school system, consistently ranked as one of the best in the state. The county has also planted more than 45,000 trees during the past four years, added more than 70 hybrid vehicles to the County’s fleet and created a recycling program that is used by 95 percent of all residents.