The Howard County Tourism and Promotion Welcome Center
The Howard County Tourism and Promotion Welcome Center is now in a newly renovated space accessed directly from Main Street in the Ellicott City Historic District. Visitors can now avail themselves of a lounge area with comfortable seating and computers available to research Howard County attractions, lodging and dining.
Informational panels detailing the history of the building and the New Deal murals in the lobby as well as quick studies of Ellicott City and Columbia are on display. Countywide information is available on a daily basis through Tourism & Promotion’s own annual Visitor Guide as well as through brochures provided by the organizations partners who offer dining, lodging, shopping, entertainment venues and more all over the county.
The Patapsco Heritage Greenway’s River Valley History Panels are an attraction in themselves that both travelers and locals will find very informative. These panels give an accurate picture of the valley from the time when only the Susquehannock and Piscataway Indian tribes were here hunting and fishing up to and including the years when industry was king along the river. Over 20 mills could be found along the Patapsco with more dotting the tributaries leading into it.
The oil paintings on the west and east walls of the Howard County Welcome Center were painted in 1942 by Petro Paul De Anna, an artist commissioned by the federal government as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. From 1934 to 1943, the New Deal murals and sculpture seen in Post Offices were produced under the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture, later called the Section of Fine Arts. Unlike the Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project, with which it often is confused, this program was not directed toward providing economic relief. Instead, the art placed in Post Offices was intended to help boost the morale of people suffering the effects of the Great Depression with art. A fundraising effort is underway to restore the paintings to their original look and a donation box is available.
A variety of books on local and regional history are available for purchase and bi-monthly infotainment events are offered to inform and entertain both visitors and residents.
A handicapped accessible restroom is located at the rear of the main level and additional restrooms can be found in a separate entrance on the lower level.