Ellicott City is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Howard County, Maryland, United States. The population was 56,397 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Howard County. Founded in 1772, the town features the B&O Railroad Museum Ellicott City Station, built in 1830, and a downtown historic district which is a very popular destination among antiques shoppers, with restaurants, eclectic boutique shops, coffee shops, a tea room and many historic sites. As of the 2000 Census, Ellicott City surpassed Towson, Maryland, as the largest unincorporated county seat in the country. Ellicott City is listed amongst America's most affluent communities and is located in Howard County, the third wealthiest county in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since 2005, Ellicott City has been ranked three times among the top 20 Best Places to Live in the United States by Money and CNNMoney. com. The downtown area is often called "Historic Ellicott City" or "Old Ellicott City", to distinguish it from the unincorporated area that extends north to the Baltimore County line, south to Columbia, and west to West Friendship.