The Ridgely’s and Historic Hampton Part I

May 03, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Last weekend on our way to Loch Raven Reservoir we passed some signs indicating there was a historical mansion nearby.  We originally thought it was a perfect day to spend  some time at Loch Raven Reservoir but it was rather windy and a tad chilly, we were not really dressed to be shooting in those conditions.  So after about an hour we decided to back track and see what this mansion was all about.  When we pulled up to the mansion our eyes grew a little big at the sight before us.  Amazing to think that we had not heard that much about this mansion and its history when we both live less than 20 miles away.  We also lucked out because we were able to spend 20 minutes chatting with a park ranger that was able to give us a lot of insight into the family that owned the mansion.    We were not able to photograph the entire grounds of the mansion because we only had an hour to shoot before the mansion was scheduled to close.   We fully intend to revisit this location because not only did we not get a chance to visit the slave quarters but surprisingly they allow you to photograph the inside the mansion.  Not counting the mansions in Newport RI this is the one of the most beautiful Georgian mansions that I have ever seen.  I kept walking around in awe at the beauty of the gardens and the mansion itself.

Hampton House was the mansion of Charles Ridgely.  He made his fortune from the Northhampton Furnace and Forge.  The Iron produced from this location was then shipped to England.  The family also cultivated and exported their tobacco crop.  The Mansion is built in Northern Balitmore County and it took 7 years to completed.  Construction started in 1772 and it was completed in 1790 right before Charles died. After it was completed the Hampton House was the largest private home in Northern America.  The mansion originally consisted of 24,000 acres of land and today the property consist of 60 acres of lans.   There is a huge terraced garden  and twenty buildings which include slave quarters.  Also on the property are six state champion trees.   The Hampton National Historic Site still retains many of its original outbuildings and landscape features that made the estate a showplace for the last 3 decades.  We were also told that nearly all of the furnishings seen in the Mansion today were originally owned by the Ridgelys.

While listening to the ranger we learned that there is a lot of interesting history behind the wealth of the family.  Slaves preformed the lowest-skilled, dirtiest jobs such as hauling materials. Indentured servants often worked as tradesmen; these higher-skilled jobs included molding the pig iron into bars and maintaining the correct mixture of iron ore, limestone, and lumber in the furnace. Free blacks also held both skilled and unskilled jobs. While white and black, free and enslaved, families worked together, working conditions were awful for all; food rations were poor, and child labor was common.

Well we did not want to bore you guys with too many photographs in one post so all of the photos in this post are taken from was was seen from the front of the mansion.  We will post additional photographs of the mansion sometime later.  If interested feel free to click on the following links below to learn more about the mansion and the family that owned it.
http://www.nps.gov/hamp/historyculture/some-notable-ridgelys.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampton_National_Historic_Site
http://www.mdslavery.net/html/casestudies/fifrh.html

Front view of the mansion

Front of the mansion

Stables

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Greenhouse #1



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