Sykesville History

A Brief History

The Pattersons

William Patterson, the wealthy Baltimore shipbuilder made the 3000-acre Springfield Estate his country home. In 1803, Patterson’s daughter Elizabeth (Betsy) married Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. Reluctantly, William consented to the marriage. In 1804, Napoleon declared the marriage illegal and ordered Jerome to return to France. Return he did with his new wife at his side, but Napoleon refused to let her land. Betsy returned to her father at Springfield, and in 1815 the State of Maryland granted her a divorce.

Horse Train Stop

Upon the death of William in 1824, his son George became the owner of the Springfield Estate. In 1825, George Patterson sold 1000 acres of the Springfield Estate to a business associate, James Sykes, of Baltimore, the man for whom Sykesville is named. One tract of land on the Howard County side of the Patapsco River contained an old combination saw and grist mill. Sykes soon replaced it with a newer and stronger building and in 1830 constructed a five-story stone hotel, consisting of 47 rooms, to take care of railroad personnel and the tourist trade from Baltimore. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad extended its “Old Main Line” through “Horse Train Stop” in 1831. The area was yet to be named “Sykesville.” Other businesses joined Sykes’s mill and hotel on the south side of the Patapsco River. Buildings included two general merchandising stores, other mills, churches, and a post office. Sykesville was a thriving commercial center and tourist resort.

A Growing Town

In 1835, Dr. Orrelana H. Owings built a large two-story stone store on Main Street for his son-in-law, Harry Miller. Today, the old stone store is owned by Scott Beck who established E.W. Beck’s, another downtown restaurant.

The Springfield Presbyterian Church predates the formation of Carroll County, having been established when Sykesville was still a part of Baltimore County. The church was built in 1836 on land donated by George Patterson. The first floor was used as a school for the Springfield Institute, the first organized school in Sykesville.

In 1845 Sykes enlarged his mill into “The Howard Cotton Factory” and also built homes for his employees on the same tract of land. The factory operated until the depression of 1857.

Civil War Era

During the Civil War, the Town was divided and young men fought on both sides of the conflict. On June 29th 1863, a detachment of Confederate Calvary under J.E.B. Stuart arrived in Sykesville. They tore up some railroad track, burned the bridge over the Patapsco and destroyed telegraph lines.

Most of the town was washed away during the flood of 1868 and recovery was slow, but with the steady stream of B & O traffic, the town was rebuilt on the Carroll County side of the Patapsco River. On a hill overlooking the town, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was built in time to see the lower portion of Sykesville swept away by the raging Patapsco. Stone for the church was supplied from the estate of Dr. Owings and the Brooks property across the river in Howard County.

Post Civil War

The Springfield estate, with its vast Patterson mansion, passed into the hands of Governor Frank Brown after the death of George Patterson, and during his governorship the Springfield State Hospital was established at Sykesville in 1896. The Springfield Hospital Center, as it is called today, was at one time the largest psychiatric hospital on the eastern seaboard.

In 1876, James Sykes was living in Elysville, Howard County. He visited Sykesville on April 1st of that year at the age of 85. James Sykes died May 30, 1881, at the age of 90. He is buried at Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, along with his parents, sister and wife, Mary.

In 1883, the handsome B & O Railroad Station, a brick Queen Anne structure designed by E. Francis Baldwin, was built on the west side of Main Street along the Patapsco River.

In 1890, J. H. Fowble, architect and contracting builder, came to Sykesville. He was responsible for designing most of downtown Sykesville: the McDonald block, two brick bank buildings, the Wade H. D. Warfield building, the Arcade, and Kate McDonald’s residence on Main Street, the present Sykesville Town House.

20th Century

Sykesville was incorporated 1n 1904 with Edwin M. Mellor Sr. as the first Mayor. In 1913, the Sykesville Herald was established as the town’s first newspaper.

During this time, The Town was split into “Wet” and “Dry” Factions due to the Prohibition Movement. The depression of 1929 hit the town hard and many families’ farms had to be sold. Sykesville was among the first places in the State to repeal Prohibition in 1933. Fire destroyed the town’s main business block in 1937. The coming of World War II lifted the town out of the depression.

Today, Sykesville is enjoying a renaissance and is preserving its rich and historic past.

Sykesville Main Street’s Historic Affiliations:

We are a part of Maryland’s Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area

We are on the National Register of Historic Places

Books About Sykesville’s History

Sykesville Past & Present A Walking Tour by Linda F. Greenberg

    Available at the Visitor’s Center and at the Sykesville Gate House Museum as well as at several Main Street businesses or purchase online. Read the Press Release

Stories About Sykesville’s History

The Blighted Hopes of George and Prudence Patterson

James Sykes – Flood, Fire and the Founding of Sykesville

Wade H.D. Warfield’s Rise and Fall

Sykesville, The Town that Refused to Die

Matt Candland and the End of an Era for Sykesville

More About Sykesville

The Sykesville Giants

Sykesville’s Amazing Dorseys and the Old Colored Schoolhouse

Recession, Coincidence, and 7604 Main Street

Memories of Sykesville in the 1960s

Walking With Sykesville History

A Very Short History of Sykesville’s Town House

The People of Sykesville

John Bennett – A Confederate Soldier From Sykesville

Wiley Purkey

A Likely Story Bookstore & Debbie Scheller

Who Was Betsy Patterson?

Sykesville’s News of the Past

The Herald Project – An Archive of Sykesville’s Newspaper

As Goes the Herald, So Goes Sykesville

Hats Off to Springfield’s Class of 1914

Restoring Main Street

Relics of Ancient Sykesville

“Anne of Green Gables” like event takes over Sykesville 100 years ago

Moving House, Literally

Upcoming Events

Third Annual Cocoa Crawl @ Main Street Sykesville
Feb 15 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Join us Saturday, February 15th from 11 AM – 4 PM for the 3rd Annual Sykesville Main Street Cocoa Crawl!

Presented by the fabulous merchants of Main Street.

Join us Saturday, February 15th from 11 AM – 4 PM for the 3rd Annual Sykesville Main Street Cocoa Crawl!
Presented by the fabulous merchants of Main Street.
Purchase a collectible Sykesville Main St cocoa mug and visit all the participating stores to sample their version of Cocoa. Walk Main street and enjoy the festive music. Take advantage of store sales and community cheer.
All proceeds go toward merchant hosted events such as all our First Friday and cider stroll giveaways.
This year the Main Street merchants designed a large commemorative traveling mug with a lid that will be on sale for $10/mug or 5 mugs for $40.00.
Cocoa Crawl commemorative Sykesville mugs will be available for purchase (while supplies last) at the Patapsco Distilling Company, 7609 Main Street, Sykesville on the day of the event.

*Non-refundable, the event is rain or shine.

*Information provided to the Downtown Sykesville Connection will not be used for any purpose other than the distribution and/or confirmation of receipt of tickets.

*The Downtown Sykesville Connection is not responsible for any situations that arise due to the Square transaction system.


Harry Potter Trivia Night by the Main Street Merchants @ Sykesville Main Street
Mar 6 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Harry Potter Trivia Night by the Main Street Merchants @ Sykesville Main Street

Come dressed in your Best Harry Potter get up and get ready for fun!
No Muggles, please!

2020 Harry Potter First Friday Special/location list:
– French Twist – Welcome Tent: Platform 9 ¾: photo Op with fog machine and props.
Learn about the rules, and pick up your scavenger hunt and trivia booklet,
Special will be: Hagrid’s mulled wine (Adults only)
– Baldwin Station: Hogsmeade Station
Special Cocktails – Wizards Brew and House-made Butter Beer, $5 each
– The Vine on Main: The Apothecary
Special – Serving Felix Felicis – Good Luck Potion. Adult and kid-friendly versions.
Special Harry Potter jewelry for sale.
– Patapsco Distilling Co: The Hog’s Head
Specialty Cocktails – Bourbon Butterbeer, Polyjuice Potion, Goblet of Fire, Unicorn Blood & The Phoenix Feather – $6.50 each
– Sykesville Pottery & Art Center: Magical Menagerie
Make and Take Dragon Egg. It will cost $8 per person.
We will also have a kids night for mythical creatures: $45 includes pizza and drink.
– Hair by Samsara: Hairy Potter’s Wizarding World
– Firehouse Creamery: Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor
– Wind River: Madame Malkin’s Robes For All Occasions
– Gypsy Sister: Twilfitt and Tattings
– TriSport Junction: Quality Quidditch Supplies
– Dandelion Bakery: Sugar Plum Sweet Shop
– Design of Mind: Eeylops Owl Emporium
Make and Take Owl Craft
– Sweet Simplici-Tea: Madame Puddifoot’s Tea Shop
– Revive & Company: Olivander’s Wand Shop
– Beck’s: The Three Broomsticks
Specials includeKreacher’s French Onion Soup
Butterbeer Cupcake
Gryffindor Olde Fashioned
Slytherin Martini
Firewhisky Cocktail
– Cowboys and Angels: Gringot’s Wizarding Bank
– Norwood’s Ice Cream and Candy: Honeydukes Sweet Shop
– Unwined: Borgin and Burkes
– The Market Tavern: The Leaky Cauldron
– A Likely Story: Florish and Blotts
– Georgie Lu’s: Master Georges Robes and Children’s Wear
– Branches of Yoga: The Forbidden Forest
HP women’s tank top for sale
Have You Seen This Wizard? Photo booth
Learn new yoga poses, “Expecto Patronum” and “Aragog, King of Arachnids”
– Pin It Up Acupuncture: Snape’s Potions Class
– Dandelion Bakery: Sugar Plum Sweet Shop
10th Annual Art & Wine Festival @ Sykesville main street
May 30 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

We came together by staying apart.

Sykesville Art & Wine Festival, on Saturday May 30, 12 to 5pm

The Downtown Sykesville Connection (DSC) decided to add to the 8 weeks confinement period implemented by the CDC to reschedule its events as a celebration of the end of confinement and commemoration of the importance of togetherness. We hope that you join us in reclaiming our Main Street, our freedom to come and go, for a giant “cheers to community” with domestic and foreign reds, whites, rosés, sangrias, wines, cavas and other specialty wines that will be available for unlimited sampling with your collectible Sykesville glass.

Pre-sale tickets are available for purchase now for $35!

Tickets will be available at the door on the event day for $40.

Volunteer for the event

The 2020 wine sampling is as exciting and diverse as our live entertainment, local artists, and food trucks display! Three different music venues, street performers and tons of local artists will await you in downtown Sykesville.  The event also showcases the local business community, embodying an atmosphere of old-fashioned, historic, small-town charm.

Vendor registration info is available at:

Maryland Wines (to date):
Linganore Winecellars
Cove Point Winery


California, Washington State WinesInternational Wines
Details coming soon!

Music South Main Street:

Garrett Mabe’s Trio

Music North Main Street:

DJ Gregory Hilliard

This event was made possible thanks to our:





The Downtown Sykesville Connection and the Town of Sykesville look forward to seeing you on Main Street on May 3rd!


Non-refundable, event is rain or shine.

NO PETS ALLOWED (Town Ordinance 301, which modified the Town Code. The Town Code reference for the “no pets or animals allowed at Town events is: Chapter 51, Article 1, Sections 51-1 through 51-)

*Information provided to the Downtown Sykesville Connection will not be used for any purpose other than the distribution and/or confirmation of receipt of tickets.

*The Downtown Sykesville Connection is not responsible for any situations that arise due to the Paypal transaction system.

*By attending the 2020 Sykesville Art & Wine Festival I understand that I may be photographed or videotaped for promotional or educational purposes.

2020 Let Freedom Ring Parade @ Sykesville Main Street
Jul 4 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

The third edition of the “Let Freedom Ring Parade will start at 10:00 am on Saturday, July 4 at Sykesville Middle School and route the length of Historic Main Street. Marching bands, old cars, floats, and other patriotic elements are expected on Main Street for the enjoyment of the whole family.
We hope to see you there to cheer for the participants and enjoy a small town 4th of July celebration together.

Submit your float application to enter our float contest! The winner will take home a $500 cash prize!

Email us at for more details!


This event was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of our title sponsors:






Full Event Calendar
Baldwin Station

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