Ellicott City got to the final four but lost in a close race against Collierville, TN, which the magazine said was known for its gazebos and old-fashioned feel.
The final two contestants were Collierville and McMinville, OR. The winner will be revealed on the cover of the Aug. 17 issue of Parade magazine, according to an announcement by the city of McMinville.
The tournament began with 16 towns identified by readers as having the best Main Streets. Each was pitted against one other town to narrow the field.
In the first round, Ellicott City took on Ridgefield, CT, and came away victorious, then handily beat Rockland, ME, in the second round as well. By Tuesday, there were four contestants remaining. Ellicott City was neck-and-neck with Collierville until the final moments of the poll.
After voting closed, conversation in the comment section accompanying the poll got a bit huffy, with citizens accusing one another of gaming the system.
"To the people of Ellicott City who are apparently quite upset by the many votes garnered in favor or our quaint little southern Collierville town square, I simply say to you, 'Bless y'all's hearts!'" a user named Dana wrote.
Others used the comment section as an opportunity to share what they loved about Ellicott City, regardless of what the poll said.
"Taking nothing away from the 16 other very deserving historic main streets, the charm and mystique of Ellicott City is its reminiscence of the pre-industrial American mill town. Situated on the Patapsco River with wonderful sight lines and landmarks (some of which were named after ancient Roman features—Capitoline Hill and Tiber River), Ellicott City embodies the industrial ingenuity of a time lost on the American landscape. Many historic mill towns have struggled to survive after the steam power moved factories to big cities. Working-class communities like Hampden, Lowell, Clinton, Laconia, etc., have struggled to maintain their original features in lieu of 20th-century gentrification and development....We are proud of not only the historic features of our town, but also its perseverance over the years through numerous floods and suburban development all around. Ellicott City is a glimpse of what mill towns in this country were and why preserving them is so important for our country's wonderful heritage." —Howard County Historical Society
"When I first came to Main Street on a date 17 years ago, I fell in love with the place as we walked up and down the street going into the unique shops and walking down by the river. For several years after that, I visited often and kept thinking that I would love to live here. I would drive up and hang out with the Tuesday night happy hour crowd in the basement of the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company and everyone would yell your name when you walked in the door. Really, that happens. Years later, I finally got that spot on Main Street and haven’t left since. I couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere else. You can’t walk up or down the street without someone yelling your name or waving at you as they drive by. There is such a strong sense of community especially when it really matters, like pulling together for some unexpected flood or a train derailment, and helping out those in need. Some see it as a destination but I see it as a home. I love living here and all the people I get to interact with. For over 6 years, my bedroom window was over this stream in Tiber Park and there is nothing more soothing than sleeping to the sound of the stream that runs through and under our town." —Peter Edelen
What's your favorite thing about Ellicott City? Tell us in the comments!