Mount Clare (Maryland)

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Mount Clare
Mount Clare, December 2011
Mount Clare (Maryland) is located in Baltimore
Mount Clare (Maryland)
Location Carroll Park, Baltimore, Maryland
Coordinates 39°16′44″N 76°38′37″W / 39.27889°N 76.64361°W / 39.27889; -76.64361Coordinates: 39°16′44″N 76°38′37″W / 39.27889°N 76.64361°W / 39.27889; -76.64361
Area 0 acres (0 ha)
Built 1763
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Georgian
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 70000860
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 15, 1970[1]
Designated NHL April 15, 1970[2]

"Mount Clare" — also known as "Mount Clare Mansion", known today as the Mount Clare Museum House — is the oldest Colonial-era structure in the City of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. The Georgian style of architecture plantation house exhibits a somewhat altered five-part plan.[3] It was built on a Carroll family plantation beginning in 1763 by barrister Charles Carroll the Barrister, (1723-1783), a descendant of the last Gaelic Lords of Éile in Ireland and a distant relative of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, (1737-1832), longest living signer of the Declaration of Independence and the richest man in America in his later years, also the layer of the "first stone" of the new Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, just a short distance away in 1828.

"Mount Clare" has been maintained by the "The National Society of Colonial Dames in Maryland, the local chapter of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America" since 1917, after the City of Baltimore, purchased a large portion of the former estate in 1890 as its third large landscaped park.[4] In 1970, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.


"Mount Clare" features a portico on the front facade with a projecting bay above. The upper bay contains a Palladian window.

The City of Baltimore built Palladian pavilions connected by hyphens on either side in 1910 as a concealed public toilets structure,[5] but these do not reflect historical construction that were originally on the estate.[4] They have since been converted to a library and a colonial-era kitchen exhibit.[5] A circa 1912 stable, once used to house the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks' Park Ranger horses, is restored and now used for classroom space as well as a rental facility for-events and meetings.


The first building on the "Mount Clare" property was built by John Henry Carroll, barrister Charles Carroll's brother, in 1754, and was probably eventually incorporated as a portion of the larger house. Charles inherited the property originally named "Georgia Plantation" which overlooked the northwestern shore of "Ridgeley's Cove of the Middle Branch and Ferry Branch of the Patapsco River where some wharves and docks existed along with a small iron-making foundry after brother John's death and began construction between 1757 and 1760 (mistakenly listed for years on brochures and tourist information as 1754).

This area had originally been the first selected site by the appointed Town Commissioners for the new "Baltimore Town" to be laid out in 1729. A different location further northeast on "The Basin", head of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River was chosen after the landowner John Moale objected to the project on the theory that important iron ore deposits were located here that he intended to eventually mine and exploit.

Charles Carroll the Barrister began building the present 2-1/2 story Georgian style central block, incorporating his brother John's kitchen and flanking it with a wash house and an orangery. In 1768 Charles added the projecting bay and Palladian window that dominate the entry facade today. The kitchen wing was enlarged and an office wing was added for balance, resulting in a symmetrical nine-part elevation.[6] The house was completed about 1767.[5]

After Charles the Barrister's death in 1783, his widow made further changes, connecting the outbuildings and adding a greenhouse to the orangery and expanding the laundry, resulting in a complex about 360 feet long. These additions, along with other alterations, were in the more current style of Federal architecture which is similar to but slightly different from the older Georgian.[6]

The mansion left the Carroll Family's ownership in 1840, and the house's flanking hyphen wings were demolished. During the American Civil War it was used as a headquarters by Union forces who fortified the site and named it "Camp Carroll", as a series of earthen forts surrounding Baltimore, then making it the second most fortified city in the world at that time, next to Washington, D.C,, the Nation's Capital.

After a period as a beer garden (the Schutzengarten"?) by the German community in Baltimore, the house and 70 acres (28 ha) were purchased in 1890 by the City of Baltimore as its third large landscaped park.[5]

Beginning in January 2012, a collaborative operating agreement between the B&O Railroad Museum and The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (Maryland Chapter) provides for joint administration of "Mount Clare" by both institutions. The B&O Railroad Museum, located approximately one mile northeast of Mount Clare, provides seasonal train rides to and from its "Mount Clare Shops" museum complex for visitors, and has developed tours and exhibits noting the railroad and Civil War heritage of the mansion site. It is also interesting to note that the soon-to-be-constructed second small passenger station ("Mount Clare Station") to supplement its original, little-known, waterfront first station on West Pratt Street (between South Charles and Light Streets along with an extensive complex of workshops, furnaces, warehouses and foundries to maintain the new growing transportation system a mile to the northeast on the edge of the estate were named the "Mount Clare Shops".


The manor house has been appointed with historically relevant furnishings and is open to the public. Guided tours are preceded by an introductory video and include a walk through the entire house, together encompassing about 45 to 60 minutes.



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ "Mount Clare". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  3. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". National Register of Historic Places: Properties in Baltimore City. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-06-10. 
  4. ^ a b "Mount Clare". Baltimore:A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary. National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  5. ^ a b c d National Historic Landmark Nomination: Mount Clare PDF (201 KB). National Park Service. December 19, 1969. 
  6. ^ a b Dorsey, John; Dilts, James D. (1981). A Guide to Baltimore Architecture (Second ed.). Centreville, Maryland: Tidewater Publishes. pp. 140–142. ISBN 0-87033-272-4. 

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