Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Something Creative from the Wood"

As she points into the case, Karen Bast Griffith, The Howard County Historical Society's Museum Curator, explains what these extraordinary pieces of wood are and how the museum acquired them.

Griffith says: "This winter was devastating to the trees of Howard County. Everywhere you looked there were limbs of pine trees on the ground and in some areas whole trees uprooted.
Even though there was a massive amount of material after the snow melted I doubt if many people thought of making something creative from the wood."

Griffith's juxtaposition of the harsh Winter and the notion of "something creative" struck me as highly poetic and I asked her if I could visit the museum to learn more; I did and enjoyed every minute of it!

She elaborated later in writing: In the collection at the Howard County Historical Society Museum at the top of Court Ave. there are three pieces of woodenware, two pitchers and a tray made from a tree in the Ellicott Graveyard on Old Columbia Pike. According to our records, they were designed around 1926 by a man named George Horseshoe, who lived on Fels Ave. in Ellicott City. Mrs. Frank Higginbothom, Sr.,wife of one of the undertakers in town purchased these for $5.00 and they were later inherited by her daughter-in-law, Cora Higginbothom who lived on Hill St.

"All three items are hand-carved, the tray having delicate leaves on the top rim and tiny feet on the underside. One of the pitchers still has the branch nubs protruding from the sides just as the tree looked when it stood shading the graves of many of the founders."

The mystery of Mr. Horsehoe's life remains to be discovered. Connie Scholl, one of our Research Library Volunteers is searching the Census Records and we are checking Cemetery lists as well. Any other information would be most welcomed!

You can visit the Museum on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m to see these items and many more. It resides in a historic Presbyterian church, built in 1894. The architectural focus of the site, it is a prominent feature of the hill, directly across from the Circuit Court. The Historical Society’s research library is out of sight to the left of the museum.

The Howard County Historical Society’s main goals are the investigation and study of Howard County History; promotion of programs education members and the community in the history of Howard County and Maryland; to provide library research and museum facilities on the history of Howard County.

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Telephone: 410 461.1050

Blog feature by Kay Weeks and Karen Griffith

Photos by Kay Weeks

Be sure to visit Jeremy Kipp Clark's comprehensive



Coastcard said...

What lovely wood, and a fascinating post, Kay!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kay. I did not know that even though I am familiar with the family name and Fels Lane of yore.

Sally Bright
Cambridge, Maryland

Trudy Babchak said...

Beautiful wood pieces and interesting article. It is amazing to see all of the little known pieces of Ellicott City you discover.

Anonymous said...


I'll remember to visit the museum when I get back (mid-May)...