1963 Developer James W. Rouse announces he intends to build Columbia.

1964 Plan formally introduced to Howard officials, who are shown a three-dimensional model of Town Center, man-made lakes and the adjacent villages.

1966 Construction begins.

1967 The first residents of Columbia move into the Village of Wilde Lake, and Lake Kittamaqundi and Wilde Lake are dug and filled.

1967 Exhibit Center, Teachers Building and Merriweather Post Pavilion open.

1968 Phone book lists Columbia's first 1,000 residents.

1969 The Odyssey Restaurant opens in the Teachers Building in Town Center. It would ultimately be occupied by Clyde's restaurant.

1969 American City Building, or Two Wincopin, opens.


1970 Swatch of land cleared to make way for the mall. Symphony Woods, a 40-acre park in the middle of Town Center, is designated as permanent open space.

1971 The Mall in Columbia opens, with Woodward & Lothrop, Hochschild-Kohn and 80 of the anticipated 102 stores. A sneak preview draws thousands of residents for an old-fashioned bull roast in the parking deck.

1972 The Poinsettia Tree, conceived by a landscape manager for Rouse, was first assembled for the holidays at the mall.

1972 Town Center cinema and Cross Keys Inn, Columbia's first hotel, open.

1973 Columbia Hospital and Clinics, a 59-bed facility designed primarily to serve members of the Columbia Medical Plan, opens.

1974 The Rouse Co. headquarters, designed by architect Frank Gehry, opens at Lake Kittamaqundi.


1980 Rusty Scupper and Howard County central library open.

1981 Sears expands to the mall.

1981 Cross Keys Inn renamed Columbia Inn.

1987 The Howard County Center of African American Culture is established.

1988 Columbians line the curb of Little Patuxent Parkway for a parade celebrating their community's 20th birthday.

1988 Lakefront Plaza redeveloped.

1989 Columbia Association acquires Oakland Manor to restore for community events.


1990 Vantage House retirement community opens.

1993 Tomato Palace opens in the Teachers Building, replacing a real estate office.

1994 Traditional Acupuncture Institute opens in American City Building.

1995 The Festival for the Arts replaces the Columbia city fair.

1996 JCPenney replaces Woodward & Lothrop.

1998 The Gramercy and the Whitney open, the first of a number of condominiums and apartments that would spring up in Town Center in the coming years. Columbia Inn becomes the Sheraton Hotel.

1998 Johns Hopkins Hospital buys the nonprofit, resident-owned Howard County General Hospital, which had evolved from Columbia Hospital.


2000 Copelands restaurant opens.

2001 The Woodlawn Slave Quarters, a stone structure probably owned by the Dorsey family since they came to the area in the 1700s, is placed on Preservation Howard County's list of 10 most endangered sites.

2001 Development expands on west side of the mall with L.L.Bean plaza and three new restaurants nearby.

2002 Rusty Scupper redeveloped as an office building.

2003 AMC Theater opens at the mall.

2004 General Growth Properties Inc. of Chicago purchases Rouse Co. in a $12.6 billion deal.

2005 Ryland Town Center opens on the site of former cinema near Lake Kittamaqundi.

Sources: Images of America, Columbia by Barbara Kellner and General Growth Properties Inc.'s Web site, www.columbiatowncenter.com

The Rouse Co. headquarters, designed by architect Frank Gehry, opened in 1974.The Gramercy, built in 1998, was one of the first apartment buildings in Town Center.