The Park grounds are open seven days a week, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Tours of the Mansion are offered daily during the summer months, and on limited days during the winter months. Times, generally, are: 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. The outerbuildings, such as the Ice House, Slave Quarters, Dairy, Stables, and the family cemetery are open daily during the summer months, and on limited days during the winter months. Hours are generally from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
All times are approximate and subject to change.
Please call the Visitors' Center in advance to verify which days the buildings will be open for tours: 410-823-1309, x-251.
Property - Hampton's Cultural Landscape
Sixty-three acres of gardens, fields, woods, and paths surround the Hampton Mansion. Unlike many historic homes in the area, Hampton National Historic Site still retains many of its original outbuildings and landscape features that made the estate a showplace during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Experience a bygone era as you stroll down the original carriage drive that leads past the Mansion to the family cemetery, all the while viewing the beautiful landscape that has changed little in 150 years. Among the unusual features you will find are a rare Ice House dating from c. 1790; a reconstruction of the decorative c. 1825 Orangery; and two two-story stone Stables, dating from c. 1805 and c. 1852, which once housed some of the finest thoroughbred horses in Maryland history, including Governor Charles Carnan Ridgely's favorite champion, Post Boy.
Across Hampton Lane, other historic buildings on the property reflect the agricultural nature of the estate, including the Dairy, Mule Barn, and Granary, which were crucial to supplying produce and dairy products. Hampton National Historic Site offers an exceptional, perhaps unmatched, look at an 18th and 19th century slave estate. The rare surviving Slave Quarters represent the core of the home farm that housed the work force for the estate, and have recently been restored and opened to the public. The Farmhouse, which is one of the oldest buildings in Baltimore County, was occupied by the Ridgely family in the 18th century, and then again in the 20th century after the Mansion was opened to the public.
In addition to the historic structures and outbuildings, the property contains many historic trees. Catalpas dating to the colonial era, a Cedar of Lebanon planted in the 1830s, and a Saucer Magnolia allegedly obtained from the Marquis de Lafayette truly represent “living history.” Several of the specimens on the grounds are Maryland State Champions, representing the largest of their kind in the state. We invite you to join National Park Service Rangers on their walking tours that are held regularly, in season, in order to enjoy this living history. Please check the NPS website for the schedule (www.nps.gov/hamp).
The NPS, in conjunction with HHI, is very excited to announce the restoration of the formal gardens. Representing years of research, the Grand Parterres, which were first laid out by around 1800, along with the Great Terrace and Falling Gardens on the south side of the Mansion, will once again reflect their former glory with historic perennials, manicured boxwoods and restored trails. Currently, the NPS is recruiting volunteers to help with preservation maintenance. If you would like to be considered, please contact NPS Ranger Kirby Shedlowski at 410-823-1309, ext. 207, to get involved in this opportunity. Don’t forget to stay tuned for further developments, since long-term plans also include the restoration of historic greenhouses!
Hampton Mansion, the centerpiece of this National Historic Site, is considered by many to be one of the finest and largest Georgian mansions in the United States. Under the supervision of owner Captain Charles Ridgely, "the Builder," construction began in 1783 and was finished in 1790. The ancestral home of the Ridgelys, including an early Governor of Maryland, Charles Carnan Ridgely, it remained in their family for over 150 years. It now operates under the protection of the National Park Service in conjunction with Historic Hampton, Inc.
Unlike most historic houses, nearly all of the furnishings seen in the Mansion today were originally owned by the Ridgelys, providing visitors with a rare glimpse at changing trends, technology, fashions, and society. Soaring ceilings over 13' high, enormous gilded mirrors, oil paintings by leading American masters, brilliant silver and ceramics from America, Europe, and China, and the finest American and imported furnishings from numerous styles make any tour a memorable experience. Guided tours through the Mansion illuminate the lives and lifestyle not just of the Ridgely family, but also include stories of the slaves and indentured servants who made Hampton their home and contributed to its stature as an elegant estate and a thriving community.
The Mansion is now open after a three-year project to install an award winning, state-of-the-art, geothermal climate control system and a central automated fire suppression system. Using "green" technology, this project included the replacement of approximately 80 feet of an existing two-inch water line with a new six-inch water line, upgrading of the Mansion's electrical subsystem and security system, and improvements to the building envelope to enhance the efficiency of the new systems. All the while, great care and attention went into protecting Hampton's rich historic fabric. Please visit for yourself to see and learn firsthand about the outstanding results of this dedicated effort.
Hampton National Historic Site embodies a compelling story of America’s growth and development as a society during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was a working site, beginning with farming and iron production, evolving into a diverse economic empire, and finally returning to a working farm. The most obvious stories of the estate focus on people and economics – the experiences of people whose lives span the spectrum from slave to indentured servant to paid worker to master. While the Mansion did not see many exterior alterations, the Farmhouse, with its many changes, is a microcosm of this complex tale.
The Hampton Farmhouse, dating from the second quarter of the 18th century, is one of the oldest buildings in Baltimore County. Its preserved historic interiors, featuring original Georgian paneling, present a rare glimpse into an early Maryland house. As the Mansion was being built in the late 1700's, the Ridgelys lived here to watch the project progress. About 160 years later, the family altered the building and moved back when the Mansion was turned over to the National Park Service (NPS) in 1948. However, there are still many questions about who lived and worked in this building in the interim. As the main building on the home farm that supported the lives of the people who lived and worked at Hampton, most of the time it was probably used as the residence of the person responsible for managing the farm’s daily operations and workforce.
The Farmhouse now serves as the focal point for interpreting the important story of work and labor at this once vast agricultural and industrial estate. Historic Hampton, Inc. (HHI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Hampton by providing funding for projects not covered by the NPS, assists the National Park Service at a number of special programs held regularly at the Farmhouse (see Activities page for current list of events). These include: demonstrations on historic farming and camp cooking techniques, 18th & 19th century musical performances, Victorian games, African-American storytelling, and Yuletide events.
The Farmhouse also serves as the hub for the Hampton Improvement Association’s annual Fourth of July parade. For the last few years, hundreds of locals and visitors marched along with the Fife and Drums of the Fort McHenry Guard, veterans’ organizations, processions of antique cars, and children on decorated bikes, scooters and roller skates. Activities on the farm property reflected Independence Day celebrations from the early 1800s and included cannon and musket firings, speeches, historic toasts and a public reading of the Declaration of Independence from the Farmhouse steps.
Excitement at the Farmhouse continues aplenty with many special events for visitors of all ages. Future programs include a Civil War Weekend; special concerts with historic music on the Farmhouse lawn; carriage rides; guest appearances by historic characters, such as Edgar Allan Poe; and Victorian Games Days! For more information on these and future programs, please check HHI's Activities webpage, or call the NPS Visitors' Center at: 410-823-1309 x-251, or visit their website at www.nps.gov/hamp.
Two, two-story stone slave houses and one log cabin still remain on the property. Built around 1850, they are vivid reminders of the labor force that helped build the Ridgely family fortune. While these buildings are located near the Hampton Farmhouse, also known as the Overseer’s House, evidence indicates that there was additional slave housing spread out across the larger farm landscape. The unusual large size and duplex style layout of these buildings suggests that two families lived in each building, although current research gives no indication how many people lived in each structure. With the end of slavery these buildings were used to house tenant farmers.
During the process of preparing the structures for visitors and reopening, research revealed areas of faux-grain painting, which appears to be unique in such a facility. New exhibits and furnishings detailing the lives of the enslaved peoples at Hampton are being installed this spring.
The Archives at Hampton National Historic Site and HHI are available
to view online here
The pages detail the holdings at Hampton, as well as Hampton and Ridgely
related holdings at other institutions, and provide a Comprehensive Guide to
the Collections, a unique tool for looking at the collections as a whole. The
guide covers materials dating from 1664 to 1990, and brings together
descriptions of over 100 manuscript collections – regardless of their
The project was funded by a grant to Historic Hampton, Inc. from
Preservation Maryland, and completed in cooperation with the
National Park Service.