Near Catonsville in Baltimore County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Conquering the “Nine Mile Hill”
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.
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.
Erected by America's Byways.
Marker series. The Historic National Road marker series.
Location. 39° 16.067′ N, 76° 47.623′ W. Marker is near Catonsville, Maryland, in Baltimore County. Marker is on Historic National Road (Maryland Route 144), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ellicott City MD 21043, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ellicott’s Mills (here, next to this marker); The George Ellicott House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Road Versus Rails (about 400 feet away); To Preserve the Union (about 400 feet away); B&O Railroad Station (about 400 feet away); Turntable & Track (about 400 feet away); Ellicott City Station, 1831 (about 400 feet away); Old Stone Tavern House (about 500 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.
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. 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.
Also see . . . Oella: Conquering the Nine Mile Hill. PDF version of the marker. (Submitted on March 12, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.)
Categories. • African Americans • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 9, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 25, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,603 times since then and 63 times this year. 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. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.