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Located above the main streets of Ellicott City is a a historical mansion called Mt. Ida. It is now home to the offices of the "Friends of the Patapsco Female Institute", which looms on the hill above it, and has been restored magnificently to become an Ellicott City showcase.
Besides playing host to the restoration group, the house also plays host to one of the former owners of the home..... a woman who passed away in the 1920's!

Mt. Ida is one of Ellicott City's finest restored homes and is home to both a restoration group and a watchful ghost.

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Mt. Ida was designed in the early 1800's by the famous architect N.G. Starkweather, who also designed the chapel that was added onto the Patapsco Female Institute in the 1850's and many homes and buildings in the Baltimore area. In the old photos and prints of Ellicott City, Mt. Ida is depicted as one of the most prominent landmarks of the town. The house was actually built by Charles Timanus (who also built the Patapsco school) for William Ellicott. He was the son of Jonathan and Sarah Ellicott and the grandson of Andrew, one of the founders of Ellicott Mills. Mt. Ida was the last home to be built by an Ellicott within the town limits.
Unfortunately, William died in 1838 at the age of only 43 and he never had the chance to really enjoy his new home.

In the 1850's, the house became the residence of Judge John Snowden Tyson, a member one of Maryland's most prominent families. He and his wife Rachel lived there until the 1870's and it was from this family which the ghostly legend of the house has sprung.
After the death of the Tyson's, the house was left to their children. The eldest son, John, was tragically killed in a boating accident, leaving three maiden sisters behind. All three of them resided in the house until they died. The last to pass away was Miss Ida Tyson and many believe that it is her ghost who maintains a presence in the house. According to many who have lived and worked there over the years, they have heard the peculiar sound of Miss Ida's keys rattling as she roams the house. Apparently, the elder lady kept a ring of keys with her at all times and many claim to have heard these keys on various occasions.
During the last years of her life, Miss Ida was recalled as a lively person who used and ear horn and a cane to move about. She is said to have loved the old house and the spirit that she left behind certainly seems to be a benevolent one.

Mt. Ida has changed little over the years, still looking much as it did more than a century ago. Recent restoration work has dramatically enhanced the house and looks to make it a viable landmark of Ellicott City for many , many years to come.
Visitors may visit the house and receive more information by calling (410) 465-8500. The house will also be seen on the Haunted Ellicott City Ghost Tour.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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