Included among the most notable properties in the Historic District of Ellicott City, is Mt. Ida, an impressive and stately manor home in Monument style perched atop a picturesque 3.63- acre landscape just up the hill from the retail shopping and dining district along Main Street.
The last known home to have been built by an Ellicott in Ellicott City, Mt. Ida, circa 1828, has experienced many converted uses including its original use as a single family home housing affluent Howard County families including the Charles Clark family and his 11 children, and Judge John Snowden Tyson and his senior daughter Ida; after whom the home was named.
Mt. Ida was used as a hospital during the Civil War, a Town Hall during a period of Howard County Court House renovation and as an incubator for local businesses including offices for the Howard County Times newspaper.
Mt. Ida was also known to visitors and the community through the Friends of Patapsco Female Institute, who used Mt. Ida as a Visitor Center for the Historic Park, and by Historic Ellicott City, Inc (HEC) who opened the home and property to the public for events, auctions, meetings and non-profit fundraising activities, including a weekly community farmer market and their own Decorator Show House.
Mt. Ida current owners, Nathan Sowers and Kimberly Kepnes, are long-time historic Ellicott City residents, successful small business owners and are both historic home, property and community enthusiasts. Nathan and Kimberly have combined the residence, celebration and gathering uses for which Mt. Ida has been known, and present today, The Inn at Mt. Ida and Miller Hall, a commercial Bed & Breakfast and community meeting house for receptions and parties.
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Kimberly Kepnes, Historic Property Enthusiast and Entrepreneur Realtor
Armed with a real estate license and a strong interest and passion for historic properties, Kimberly Kepnes made a name for herself early in and around the historic district of Oella and Ellicott City as the local historic home specialist. Kimberly loved and was eager to counsel fellow “old-house” fans on both purchase and restoration approaches of residential and commercial historic properties around town.
And she didn’t just give advice and represent clients, she also took a deep dive into her own renovation projects, including one of Ellicott City’s most mysterious, Castle Angelo (aka Angelo’s Cottage) along with a neighboring historic church Kimberly converted to a private home; both Baltimore Sun neighborhood, Magazine and HGTV features.
Throughout her renovation projects, Kimberly became a regular on the agenda of the Historic District Commission and could frequently be found in the audience to advise on others’ historic preservation projects. Kimberly was an active member of the Howard County Historical Society and just after the opening of the first of her three or four (or was it five) businesses in town, a board member of the Ellicott City Business Owners Association.
Among the businesses established by Kimberly included a woman’s boutique called Mon Amie, a café called the Little French Market Cafe and an ice cream stand called ScoopAHHdeedoo, all located along Tonge Row, a section of suffering stone cottages along Old Columbia Pike at the public parking in town.
Kimberly’s notable residences included a pre-Civil War stone cottage in Oella, her church-home restoration on, you guessed it; Church Road, and Castle Angelo, which was converted to an Inn by Kimberly in 2017.
Whispers of an opportunity at Mt. Ida two years later sparked Kimberly and her husband, Nathan Sowers' interests, imaginations and excitement to be able to create a place where the pair could each shine. The couple penned a request and proposal to then-owner, Paul Miller, to allow the couple to restore the building and put her to use as a Bed & Breakfast Inn and community hall that would honor the building’s original residence beginnings and embrace her gathering attraction.
After nearly three years of sweat, labor and, at times, tears, Kimberly and Nathan are proud to present The Inn at Mt. Ida and Miller Hall.