Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hampton National Historic Site Buildings

When we first arrived at the Hampton National Historic Site, we went to the visitor center to find out what's up.

Hampton Visitor Center

A funny pose

The park ranger told us a tour of the main house would start in about ten minutes, so we did that first (see the main house in yesterpost).

Next to the mansion is an octagonal garden that was the location of the house slaves' living quarters. The building burned down and an herb garden was planted there.

Octagonal herb garden

Nearby are a few more support buildings for the big house. The newest is from 1910--a garage built for the first car at Hampton! Next to the garage is a small shed. Then another, larger shed is to the right. The small building on the right end is the Privies, the outhouse for the mansion since they didn't have indoor plumbing. Of course, chamber pots were in use for nighttime needs. A pump house also stands nearby.

Small shed, big shed, privies, and pump house

Other building no long extant were the carpenter's shed, a smokehouse, and an 1850s gasworks that provided gas lighting in the house until electricity was installed in 1929.

We did see the orangery, a special green house that was heated in the winter so that the Ridgelys could grow citrus trees in Maryland. Now it is set up as a meeting room. The original orangery was built in 1825 and destroyed in a fire in 1929.


Side view of the orangery

In front of the house is the ice house. A brick dome is covered by grass, leaving two entrances visible.  One let servants or slaves go down to the vault (33 feet deep!) to bring ice up to the main house. This was another sign of the Ridgely's wealth--they had ice throughout the summer in the 1800s, long before refrigeration. They could even make ice cream to serve to their guests!

Ice house entrance

Layout of the ice house

Scary stairs into the ice house

Looking into the vault

Ice pit

The other side of the ice house has the window through which ice was dropped. The ice house was filled in the winter and emptied during the summer.

Where to deposit ice

Stables were built on the east side of the north lawn, the first stable in 1803 and the second in 1857. In addition to carriage and riding horses, the Ridgelys also kept thoroughbreds for racing, another source of income for the family.


Across the road (Hampton Lane, naturally) are more farm buildings. The estate had thousands of acres and farming kept many people busy. The long house granary was not open to visitors.

Long house granary

The nearby diary was open and we visited. The building was cleverly planned and built. The dairy is dug into the ground for coolness and a spring feeds cold water into the building and around the floor. The Ridgelys used the dairy products for the house. Extra production was sold.

Sunken dairy

A fireplace in case they need it

Inside the dairy

Activity table

My son tries an old-fashioned tool for carrying milk

My other son tries spinning the barrel

Nearby are the workers' quarters and the Lower House (the original residence for the family before the mansion was built in 1790 and also their residence when the mansion was opened to visitors in 1948).

Lower house with workers' quarters

We had to walk around a bend to get to the Lower House, which took us by a field of corn and the foundation of the old corn crib. The crib was used to dry husked ears of corn. The dried corn was shelled and taken to a mill for grinding into cornmeal, used both on the estate and sold for profit.

Corn field

Corn crib foundation

Plowing corn fields was tough work. A nearby barn was used for mules, who acted as the 19th century equivalent of a tractor.

Mule barn

The farm also had a dove cote, which has been transformed into restrooms.

The building formerly known as dove cote

The Lower House served as a residence for the farm's overseer and includes a bell for calling workers into and out of the fields. It was not open for touring when we visited.

Lower House

Several buildings surrounding the Lower House were quarters for the slaves and later (after 1864 when Maryland abolished slavery) servants.

One of the workers' quarters

Inside the quarters

A small, unidentified building sits in between two buildings, perhaps a common oven?

An extra buildings

Exploring but not finding answers

Another quarters

A third quarters (no, there wasn't a fourth quarters)

These buildings were open and gave insights into life as a worker on the farm. The activities were fun for our children.

Planning your day

Fireplace and storage shelves

The kitchen area

Seen from the other side

Trying out an outfit

An upscale bedroom

An upscale kitchen

We headed back up the hill to the main house for a last few views. We ended our tour by going back to the visitor's center where our older children were sworn in as junior park rangers.

Running back up the hill

A regular greenhouse

Swearing in, with badges!

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