Hampton Mansion, or Hampton Hall, was one of the largest private homes in America at one time. You can't miss it if you visit Towson, Maryland. The opulent structure sits on top of the town's Read more...
Hampton Mansion, or Hampton Hall, was one of the largest private homes in America at one time. You can't miss it if you visit Towson, Maryland. The opulent structure sits on top of the town's highest hill, surrounded by well-manicured gardens and fields of crops. Look for the domed octagonal belvedere in the middle of the roof that juts out like a tower.
A guided tour of the mansion is a must-see. The structure, built around 1790 by Capt. Charles Ridgely was the central focus of a large agricultural community. Park Rangers show you the massive dining room with elegant place settings, stained glass elements that show the Ridgely family crest, and the beautiful fireplaces in major rooms throughout this mansion.
From the upper rooms, you can see the landscape below. The Ridgelys were wealthy enough to own land half the size of modern-day Baltimore. Many of the suburban houses, woodlands, and lawns you can see from the third floor all belonged to this farming family at one point.
Regular events are fun for everyone. In the fall, a harvest gathering shows you how a blacksmith forged metal tools to work on the farm. Outside, see how people threshed wheat or mowed the grass with handheld scythes. Play old-fashioned games, make fresh apple cider and shuck corn by hand during the harvest festival. You get a feel for what running a massive farming operation was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The living history demos provide a taste of what the Ridgelys did for this part of Maryland. The family ran an ironworks, trained horses for the military, and ran a dairy farm in the early part of the 20th century. Artifacts in the home depict more than 200 years of history in one of America's oldest residences.