Prints of Historic Ellicott City Courthouse Donated by Pumphrey Family for Town’s 250th

Prints of Historic Ellicott City Courthouse Donated by Pumphrey Family for Town’s 250th

EC250, Inc. received a generous and very meaningful gift earlier this year from a long-time Howard County family.  500 prints of the painting THE HOWARD COUNTY COURTHOUSE by Dorothy Iglehart Pumphrey were donated by her children for use as part of Ellicott City’s 250th commemoration. EC250 will make these 16″ x 20″ prints available to the public at various locations and events throughout the Sestercentennial year.  The historic gold domed structure is one of the town’s most iconic sites. The newly released prints are more relevant than ever now that official court business for Howard County is no longer conducted at the historic site. This new availability marks both the town’s 250th anniversary and the end of an era for the 179 years old building.

about the artist and the painting…

The Howard County Courthouse, an 18″ x 24″, oil on canvas was created by artist Dorothy Iglehart Pumphrey in 1974. A lifelong Howard County resident, Pumphrey grew up on Belmont Estate where her father was the estate’s horticulturist, and her mother was the governess for the Bruce family. Pumphrey attended Elkridge High School and then studied at what is now the Maryland Institute College of Art, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She was an active artist her entire life and very involved with her community. Her painting and drawings were exhibited locally, as well as published by St. Johns Episcopal Church and in Howard Countys Historical Society’s “Howards Heritage.

Dorothy was married to C. Merritt Pumphrey who, with his parents and brother, owned and operated Dalton Farms, which is now Thunder Hill in Columbia. Merritt served as Howard County’s Clerk of the Court for 25 years. He passed away in 2007.

Dorothy passed away in 2015, leaving a strong legacy in her community and among her family of three children, ten grandchildren, and eleven great grandchildren.

The battered cannon on the front lawn as depicted in the painting is said to have been captured at the Battle of Bladensburg during the War of 1812 by “Bachelor John Dorsey”.

about the Courthouse…

The courthouse was built in 1843 with white oak beams and locally quarried granite.   The Courthouse is a Classic Revival structure and is significant not only architecturally but because it has been a repository for Howard County Government almost since the government began. After the creation of the Howard District of Anne Arundel County in 1840 (a prelude to the  formation of Howard County) it was necessary for the new district to establish its own courthouse, jail, and almshouse in what would become the county seat, Ellicott’s Mills. The original section of the Courthouse was designed and built in 1840-43 by Charles Timanus, who also designed the Patapsco Female Institute.

As the town and surrounding county grew, many additions and renovations were made over the years. Recently vacated, the historic, county-owned courthouse building and adjacent properties now await the next chapter in their long history overlooking Ellicott City high atop Capitoline Hill. 

a note from the Pumphrey family…

The Pumphrey family is honored and delighted to donate prints of Dorothy’s painting to the Celebration of Ellicott City’s 250th Anniversary.

In their honor, the family created  The Pumphrey Family Memorial Scholarship which has been administered by the Community Foundation of Howard County since 2009 for county high school students including Chapelgate Academy. In alternating years, The Dorothy Iglehart Pumphrey Memorial Scholarship awards a scholarship to a graduating high school student pursuing a degree in the arts. The C. Merritt Pumphrey Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student pursing a degree in agriculture or law. Donations to the Scholarships can be made at

Thank you and Happy Birthday, Ellicott City!

Comments (2)

  1. Janet E. Brady     July 24, 2022 at 11:17pm

    Where are the donated prints of the Howard County Courthouse being distributed now?

    Thank you for any information re locations & dates.

    Janet E. Brady
    Ellicott city

  2. Janet E. Brady     July 24, 2022 at 11:18pm

    Where are the donated prints of the Howard County Courthouse being distributed now?

    Thank you for any information.

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