ELLICOTT CITY, Md (WMAR) - "We had 8 feet of water," Main Street business owner Donna Sanger said.
Sanger's business, Park Ridge Trading Company, like many on Main St., was destroyed by both the 2016 and 2018 floods.
"We brought it back after both floods now and we wanted to use it for some kind of a purpose for the community to benefit," Sanger said.
So she decided to do something different, transforming her space into an exhibit to put the town's resilience on display. It's called EC Rising.
"This is very therapeutic and for us, kind of brings it full circle because now we at the point where we can show these pictures. We can stand to look at the pictures," Sanger said.
The exhibit features photos and videos to tell the town's story; the impact of what happened in Ellicott City on May 27, 2018.
"We found there were a lot of people coming into town who had an emotional connection to Ellicott City. They have eaten dinner down here many times or they had their first date here, and they were trying to understand what happened here and why people keep coming back here," Sanger said.
The photographs come from Kat Forder's book 'EC Stories,' collected while she volunteered during recovery efforts.
"Along the way, I was grabbing little shots, pictures here and there, gathering stories, just listening to people," Forder said.
The exhibit also features a volunteer wall to put all their hard work on display.
"They helped us clean up. They kept our spirits up," Sanger said.
There is also a special tribute to Eddie Hermond, the national guardsmen who was swept away by flood waters.
"We want people to be able to learn about him and what he did," Sanger said.
A community space working to turn the broken back into beautiful.
"People from outside the area are probably thinking we are all crazy to be down here, to open a business down here, to even be standing in this building down here even though it's not raining. The take away is it is a precious treasure and we need to do what we can to help it pull through this difficult time," Sanger said.
The exhibit also serves as a fundraiser for recover efforts. It's free to enter but they are selling the books, photos, mugs and jewelry to benefit local businesses. After the grand opening October 19th from 5 to 8 p.m., the exhibit will be staffed by volunteers Friday evenings and weekends through December.
Along with working to open the exhibit, Sanger and her daughter rented space further up the hill to reopen Park Ridge Trading Company.