Wye House

Coordinates: 38°51′12″N 76°10′06″W / 38.853398°N 76.168406°W / 38.853398; -76.168406
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Wye House
Wye House, view of front, HABS.jpg
Wye House mansion, seen from the front lawn
Wye House is located in Maryland
Wye House
Wye House is located in the United States
Wye House
Nearest cityEaston, Maryland
ArchitectKey, Robert
Architectural styleGeorgian, Federal
NRHP reference No.70000264
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 15, 1970[1]
Designated NHLApril 15, 1970[2]
The "Captain's House" on Wye Plantation

Wye House is a historic residence and former headquarters of a historic plantation house northwest of Easton in rural Talbot County, Maryland. Built in 1781–1784, it is a high-quality and well-proportioned example of a wooden-frame Southern plantation house. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.


The Wye plantation was created in the 1650s by a Welsh Puritan and wealthy planter, Edward Lloyd. Between 1780 and 1790, the main house was built by his great-great-grandson, Edward Lloyd IV, using the profits generated by the forced labor of enslaved people.[3] It is cited as an example between the transition of Georgian and Federal architecture, which is attributed to builder Robert Key. Nearby the house is an orangery, a rare survival of an early garden structure where orange and lemon trees were cultivated, and which still contains its original 18th-century heating system of hot-air ducts.[4][5]

During its peak, the plantation's owners enslaved more than 1,000 people to work lands that totaled more than 42,000 acres (17,000 ha).[6] Though the land has shrunk to 1,300 acres (530 ha) today, it is still owned by the descendants of Edward Lloyd, now in their 11th generation on the property. Frederick Douglass was enslaved on the plantation, from around the ages of seven and eight, and spoke extensively of the brutal conditions of the plantation in his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.[6]

Modern situation[edit]

The nearby hamlets of Unionville and Copperville are now home to many descendants of the people who were enslaved at Wye House.[7] This has created an interesting dynamic, with the descendants of the enslavers and the enslaved living within a very short distance of one another.[3][6][8]

The Wye House plantation gained media attention in 2006 for archaeological investigations led by the University of Maryland.[6][8]

In 2011, excavation of the greenhouse, built by enslaved African people, brought a discovery of African charms laid to ward off bad spirits at the house's furnace and entrance.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "Wye House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Ydstie, John (October 20, 2007). "Plantation Dig Reveals Md. Town's Painful Past". National Public Radio. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
  4. ^ "Orangery at Wye House". D.O. Garden Stories. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  5. ^ "Wye House, Orangery, Bruffs Island Road, Tunis Mills, Talbot County, MD". Historic American Buildings Survey. 1936.
  6. ^ a b c d Wilford, John Noble (September 6, 2006). "An Abolitionist Leads the Way in Unearthing of Slaves' Past". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  7. ^ Archaeology in Annapolis Project. "People of Wye House: Descendants". University of Maryland. Retrieved 2021-05-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b Williamson, Elizabeth (July 21, 2006). "Unearthing Slavery, Finding Peace". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  9. ^ Dominguez, Alex (February 13, 2011). "Slaves hid African charms on Colonial greenhouse". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved February 14, 2011.

External links[edit]

38°51′12″N 76°10′06″W / 38.853398°N 76.168406°W / 38.853398; -76.168406