On Wednesday I joined the Newcomer's of Northern Baltimore County for lunch at the Iron Horse Tavern in Lock Raven, followed by a tour of the historic Hampton House. The guide was passionate and knowledgeable about the home and the stories of the people who had lived there. She was an African American and her insights and perspective added greatly to the tour.
"The Site includes the c. 1790 Ridgely family ancestral home, known as Hampton Mansion. Also on the property are the original c. 1750 Overseer's House, three Slave Quarters, two 19th century stables, the family burial ground, formal gardens, the Orangery, the Ice House, and various other outbuildings. The NPS Visitors' Center is located in the west hyphen of the Mansion, and is open for tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (additional days may be added so please call ahead)."
When the home was completed in 1790, it was the largest private home in the United States, even more intriguing because it was only used during the summer months. The surrounding property reached its peak in 1820,encompassing more than 25,000 acres. More than 300 slaves worked the fields and served the household, which may well be why I felt uncomfortable through out the tour. It was grueling to think that families could live in such opulence at the cost of the lives of hundreds of others. Nonetheless, i highly recommend the tour. This is not a site to be romanticized or coveted. The cost was much too great to justify the splendor. My perspective of slavery was broadened, which came as a surprise.I'll be processing this one for a long time.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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