July 30, 2016, marks an historic day in Ellicott City, Md., after a major flood ripped through the downtown streets. Two lives were lost and several other people were injured, but residents have not let this ravaging flood keep them down.
A severe storm impacted Maryland on that fateful Saturday night. At least five buildings on Main Street were destroyed, while 170 cars that were parked on the street had to be towed to a nearby high school.
Prior to 2016, Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 had left residents in anguish after a major flood. The effects of the most recent flood were much more tragic. Visitors to the shops and restaurants on Main Street rushed to higher ground for safety, while some hurried to save the lives of those who were being swept away by the water.
Many of the local restaurants and shops did not have flood insurance, which resulted in a total loss of merchandise–and hope. Several fundraisers helped to relieve some of the costs that the residents would have to suffer.
Roughly two months after this most recent catastrophe, on Oct. 6, Main Street reopened to automobile and pedestrian traffic. On Nov. 26, 70 out of the 90 shops in Old Ellicott City reopened just in time for Small Business Saturday.
My grandparents lived just five minutes away from Main Street, and I went to elementary and middle school in the immediate area. I may not be a resident now, but this flood impacted me as well.
Growing up, I frequently visited downtown Ellicott City, especially during the holiday season to see the beautiful Christmas lights. Hearing about the devastation hurt my heart as I recalled the fond memories I have from my time there.
Seeing the progress they have made to rebuild and get back on their feet should give us all hope for the future. With the damage, the costs, the injury and death tolls, I never would have imagined that a reopening would have come so quickly.
The residents and business owners of Ellicott City are proving to all of Maryland that although things may not be completely rebuilt yet, they are working hard to make sure that one day soon downtown Ellicott City will return to its old charming self.