Patapsco Female Institute

Church Road 0.1 miles north of Sarahs Lane, Ellicott City MD 21043

Patapsco Female Institute

History: The Patapsco Female Institute served young ladies of the North and South from 1837-1891. Renowned author and educator, Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, headed the school between 1841 and 1855. Concerned with the increasing division of the country, she hoped to bring young women from every region together. Although she was a slave owner herself, she ardently supported the Union. Both her son Charles E. Phelps, and stepson John W. Phelps served in the US Army during the war and became generals. During the fall of 1862, the 12th New Jersey Infantry Regiment camped in these hills to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

More to Explore: The Institute today is a focal point for concerts, weddings, cultural activities, archaeology, and local history. It is a favorite place for guests to see summer outdoor theatre by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in the Ruins, the Baltimore area's third largest theatre company, which provides high quality performances and education programs great for the whole family. The Institute is also surrounded by historic Ellicott City, which is filled with antique shops, boutiques, restaurants, museums, and other notable attractions to enjoy during your visit.

Photo Credits:

  1. “Historic American Buildings Survey E. H. Pickering, Photographer August 1936 BUILT AS GIRLS SCHOOL – Patapsco Female Institute, Howard County, MD.” Courtesy of Library of Congress.
  2. “Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps.” Courtesy of Howard County Historical Society.