The Clifton Mansion

Clifton Mansion serves as the headquarters for Civic Works’ community service programs and as an important resource for the neighborhoods surrounding Clifton Park. For over 200 years, Clifton Mansion has anchored the Clifton Park communities. Now care of the Mansion is stewarded through Civic Works, with large scale restoration work being conducted by the Friends of Clifton Mansion.


The Clifton Mansion was originally built in 1802 as a Georgian style stone mansion, by Baltimore merchant Henry Thompson, who served as Captain of the First Baltimore Horse Artillery in the War of 1812. The building was later purchased by famed philanthropist Johns Hopkins, who transformed the mansion into a Victorian era Italian villa that served as his summer estate.

Clifton Mansion features an eighty-foot tower with a commanding view of Baltimore, an extensive porch arcade (row of arches) which wraps around three sides of the building. The entrance hall featuring a black walnut grand staircase, marble floor, intricate plasterwork, and ornate hand painted ceilings and walls, featuring a mural of the Bay of Naples.

The City of Baltimore purchased Clifton Mansion and its grounds in 1895 from Johns Hopkins University. It has been put to many uses ever since, including a headquarters for the Department of Recreation and Parks, and the clubhouse for the golf course. Although the Clifton Mansion fell into considerable disrepair during its years of transition, the building is being carefully restored by Civic Works and the Friends of Clifton Mansion. Renovation of the mansion will ensure the future of this Baltimore landmark and will also enhance the capacity of Civic Works’ programs.

Learn more about this unique Baltimore historic landmark! Contact John Ciekot (410-366-8533) or You can also learn more about becoming a volunteer at Clifton Mansion.

Enslaved People at Clifton

The Clifton Mansion, like many historic buildings, has a complicated past.

Captain Henry Thompson, the mansion’s original owner, did own enslaved people and used their labor in Clifton’s orchards and fields and, presumably, inside the Thompson home.  Enslaved people and paid workers were both involved in building the first Clifton Mansion.

Johns Hopkins did not have enslaved people at Clifton.  His family, who were Quaker, owned slaves at Whitehall, their home in Anne Arundel County, until freeing them in 1807 when Johns Hopkins was 12.  Johns Hopkins became a life-long anti-slavery advocate who worked to support Abraham Lincoln and the Union during the Civil War.  He hosted meetings at Clifton Mansion to secure local support for the Union Army. 

We are researching this early period in Clifton’s history in the hopes of learning more about the people who lived here and worked as enslaved individuals.  We invite researchers who may be able to help in this goal, as we want to reveal an increasingly full picture of the Clifton Mansion in our community story. 

  • A Day at Clifton

Rent Clifton

Make your special event all the more exciting by having it at the historic Clifton Mansion! Rent Clifton for your wedding, family reunion, corporate event, or other special occasion, and support Civic Works’ stewardship of this historic structure. For more information, contact Jayna Powell at

Upcoming Clifton Mansion Events

Celebrate CoNEctedness

Saturday, March 21st, 2020
10:00 am

Learn about the WHY of Green Mapping, the latest developments within & near the park, and opportunities to get involved. There will be speakers & refreshments. Stay for a Mansion Tour and Climb the Tower!

Hosted by Civic Works & Baltimore Green Map with help from neighborhood businesses & organizations

Public Mansion Tour

Saturday, March 21st, 2020
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

2701 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore, MD 21213

The Clifton Mansion best known as Johns Hopkins’ Italianate Country Estate  hides within it the Georgian Mansion of Captain Henry Thompson. Hear how the Mansion tells the story of Baltimore and the people who shaped it by their service from the War of 1812 to our current day. Enjoy the most recent restoration efforts showcasing Victorian decorative styles from 1852.

Tours will begin at 10:00 and 10:30 pm. Tours last approximately an hour and a half and feature a climb to the top of the tower with its excellent view of Baltimore along with an examination of the recent interior restorations of the Grand Staircase funded and directed by the Friends of Clifton Mansion.

RSVP in advance to and pay $5 at the door.

For more information contact us at 410-366-8533.