Buy Columbia at 50: A Memoir of a City

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Jim Rouse secretly bought 14,000 acres of farmland in segregated Howard County, Md., in 1964. He promised to transform the land into a city of 100,000 that was “economically diverse, poly-cultural, multi-faith and interracial.” Veteran journalist Len Lazarick tells the fascinating story of how this new town of Columbia grew and prospered over the past half-century, with many successes and a few failures. In 2016, Money magazine called it the “best small city to live in America.”

Columbia helped transform a rural county between Baltimore and Washington into one of the richest and best educated places in the United States. This easy-to-read series of essays tells how that happened.

What others say about the book:

As a newcomer to Howard County, I found ‘Columbia at 50: A Memoir of a City,’ the perfect read. It has allowed me to gain perspective on what makes Columbia special and unique.”

–Leonardo McClarty, President, Howard County Chamber of Commerce

No one in the news business is better qualified than Len Lazarick to cover the history of Jim Rouse’s new town. He is thorough, candid and at times, somewhat humorous or caustic. Len has created a treasure for us all.

–Liz Bobo, Former Howard County Executive and Delegate

Len Lazarick’s book is a towering achievement. Thoroughly engrossing, it is a must read for anyone interested in the history of Columbia.

–Pat Kennedy, Former President of the Columbia Association

Great research, writing and final product. Awesome! Columbia as an idea, a vision and the men and women who bought us this far remain part of our state’s strength. Thank you for the walk down memory lane and a reminder how a few people with a vision can indeed change the world.

–Parris Glendening, Former Governor of Maryland

Len brings Columbia’s history alive by highlighting many of Columbia’s personalities, and by weaving his family’s stories into his narrative, which serve as surrogates for the stories of all Columbia families.

–Mike & Joanne Davis

In its Best of Baltimore, Baltimore magazine Senior Editor Ron Cassie wrote: “Lazarick has lived in Columbia for 43 years, and on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the city’s founding, documented Columbia’s story in an incredibly detailed 12-part series.”

About the Author
Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick has lived and worked in Columbia as a journalist for more than 40 years. He is currently editor and publisher of, a news website about state government and politics, and a political columnist for the Business Monthly.

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