Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Catonsville in Baltimore County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Oella

Conquering the “Nine Mile Hill"

 
 
Oella Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, February 24, 2008
1. Oella Marker
Inscription.  The Ellicott brothers constructed what became the first leg of the Baltimore and Frederick-Town Turnpike to get their flour to market in Baltimore. By 1787, they cut a new road east through the forests to shorten the trip to the city. This route became part of the National Road system in 1806.

Travelers on the turnpike faced a steep grade nine miles west of Baltimore. They had to conquer the hill using numerous switchbacks as they ascended from the Patapsco River Valley.

As the road passed the Oella tollhouse and descended into the valley, it reached the 1770s flour mill built by John and George Ellicott. Their first mill was where the large concrete structure now stands across the road. The nearby stone house was once the home of George Ellicott.

(Sidebar)
Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)
African-American mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker was a renowned man of science. Famous for helping the Ellicott brothers survey the site of the national capital in 1791 and corresponding with Thomas Jefferson, Banneker is pictured on the cover of his 1795 almanac. He lived in Oella and is remembered
Oella Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, February 24, 2008
2. Oella Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
at the nearby Benjamin Banneker Historical Museum and Park.
 
Erected by America's Byways.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansIndustry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #03 Thomas Jefferson, and the The Historic National Road series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1787.
 
Location. 39° 16.067′ N, 76° 47.623′ W. Marker is near Catonsville, Maryland, in Baltimore County. Marker is at the intersection of Frederick Road (Maryland Route 144) and Oella Avenue, on the right when traveling west on Frederick Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6 Oella Avenue, Ellicott City MD 21043, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ellicott’s Mills (here, next to this marker); Up This Winding Road Lies the Village of Oella (a few steps from this marker); "Just One Nickel and I Could Ride" (within shouting distance of this marker); The George Ellicott House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Baltimore and Frederick Turnpike Milestone (about 300 feet away); Turntable & Track (about 400 feet away); To Preserve the Union (about 400 feet away); B&O Railroad Station (about 400 feet away).
 
More about this marker. On the left is a photograph of the Oella Tollhouse: Travelers on the National Road passed the Oella tollhouse and gate (photographed around 1890) and took the “Nine Mile Hill” into Ellicott City. The mile marker is still standing and the old switchbacks are still visible on both sides of Frederick Road.

In the center is an illustration of Ellicott City: Ellicott’s Mills grew quickly into a thriving, industrial community. Many successful mills crowded the banks of the Patapsco River at the cascading fall line.

In the side bar is a portrait of Benjamin Banneker. The background of the marker is "National Road at Fairview Inn" which is the standard for markers in this series. An elevation diagram of the national road is displayed on the bottom of the marker's face.
 
Regarding Oella.
Oella Marker with mills in the background image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, February 24, 2008
3. Oella Marker with mills in the background
It should be noted that Oella Avenue intersects with the National Road twice. The first time (if you are driving westbound) that it intersects with the National Road, there is a sign for the Benjamin Banneker Museum - this is not the location of the marker. The marker is located just before you cross the bridge over the Patapsco River into Historic Ellicott City.
 
Oella tollhouse image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 15, 2006
4. Oella tollhouse
Travelers on the National Road passed the Oella tollhouse and gate (photographed around 1890) and took the “Nine Mile Hill” into Ellicott City. The mile marker is still standing and the old switchbacks are still visible on both sides of Frederick Road.
Close-up of photo on marker
Oella tollhouse<br>on Nine Mile Hill image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 1, 2014
5. Oella tollhouse
on Nine Mile Hill
Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)<br>African-American Mathematician and Astronomer image. Click for full size.
By Benjamin Bannaker's Almanac, 1795
6. Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)
African-American Mathematician and Astronomer
Benjamin Banneker was a renowned man of science. Famous for helping the Ellicott brothers survey the site of the national capital in 1791 and corresponding with Thomas Jefferson, Banneker is pictured on the cover of his 1795 almanac. He lived in Oella and is remembered at the nearby Benjamin Banneker Historical Museum and Park.
The Nine Mile Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 11, 2005
7. The Nine Mile Marker
Originally close in front of the toll house this mile stone was moved as the curves in the old road were straightened out.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 2, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 25, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,727 times since then and 14 times this year. Last updated on January 5, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 25, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.   4, 5, 6. submitted on December 24, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   7. submitted on January 3, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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May. 7, 2021