Hampton National Historic Site

Hampton Mansion at the Hampton National Historic Site is a Georgian-style estate built by Charles Ridgely between 1783 and 1790. The historic plantation is located on 63 acres in Towson, Maryland, just north of Baltimore. The estate was built with different sections for specific purposes, including the Hampton Mansion where the owner and family resided, a large agricultural plantation where enslaved individuals worked to produce farm products, the Ridgely family's gated cemetery, the formal manicured gardens, the lower house where the Ridgely family lived before the mansion was completed, the creamery of Hampton where dairy was produced for 150 years, and finally, living quarters for the enslaved and tenant farmers, as well as a few barns where farm equipment and gear for the carriages were stored. Among all the structures on the site, the lower house is the oldest building. At one point in 1829, the Ridgely family enslaved as many as 312 individuals. The enslaved labored at the family's mills, quarries, ironworks, plantations, and the mansion building.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the mansion's creator and builder, Capt. Charles Ridgely (1733-1790) desired a home that would reflect his many accomplishments as a sea businessman, ironmaster, farmer, horse breeder, and member of the Maryland House of Delegates. Through his management of the family's iron ore industry, farmlands, and mercantile interests, he turned a small inheritance from his father, Col. Charles Ridgely, into enormous wealth. His farm holdings increased from 2,000 inherited acres to over 24,000 acres spread throughout northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. Although he earned fame and riches at the age of 45, he died at the age of 52 shortly after completing significant construction on the home.

Subsequently, the house became a focal point for social events among Maryland's prominent families, with elaborate parties, balls, receptions, and special dinners held in the Great Hall. The huge Ridgely properties were divided among several successors in 1829, and the golden time of Hampton kingdom declined. However, family members continued to prosper. After having owned the estate for seven generations, the Ridgely family ultimately sold Hampton in 1947 to the Avalon Foundation, which then donated it to the National Park Service. On June 22, 1948, it was recognized as a National Historic Site.



535 Hampton Lane, Towson, MD 21286