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.

History

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 cliftonmansion@civicworks.com. You can also learn more about becoming a volunteer at Clifton Mansion.

Enslaved People at Clifton

Both of Clifton Mansion’s former owners, Henry Thompson and Johns Hopkins, enslaved people. 

Henry Thompson enslaved at least 16 people at Clifton Mansion between 1805 and 1837.  His diaries note them by name and occasionally include details about their birth, death, or sale.  The names of the known enslaved people at Clifton Mansion were Reuben, Bill, Kitty, Jacob, Sarah, Chester, Lewis, Matilda, Annis, Issac, Jim, Maria, Essex, Maria, Harriet, and Bill.  

Henry Thompson also profited from the trade of enslaved people.  He owned ships that were used to transport enslaved people from Baltimore to New Orleans between 1819 and 1822.  

Johns Hopkins enslaved at least 5 men at Clifton Mansion.  One enslaved man was reported in the 1840 census and four enslaved men, ages 18, 25, 45, and 50, were reported in the 1850 census.  There are no known records of their names or details of their lives. Johns Hopkins also accepted the seizure of enslaved people as payment for debts in at least three recorded incidents between 1831 and 1859.  

We are continuing to research this early period in Clifton’s history and create materials and exhibits that acknowledge the experiences of people enslaved at Clifton Mansion.

 

  • A Day at Clifton


Click here to rent the mansion for your event

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 jpowell@civicworks.com.

 

Upcoming Clifton Mansion Events

Virtual Mansion Tour

Every 3rd Saturday of the month
10:00 am – 11:15 am

2701 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore, MD 21213

Join us as we reveal newly renovated spaces and share the architectural gem that is Clifton Mansion! Our legacy tour guides are ready to “walk” you through the mansion from roadway to hallway to rooms to tower: from the War of 1812 to the 1850’s up to the present! And you don’t even need to step onto the property or wear a mask! You can see and experience the splendor of the mansion, the new restorations, the history and what is to come from the comfort of your home on a Zoom Meeting! While the tour is primarily about the building, you will also hear about the men who lived within these walls, Henry Thompson and Johns Hopkins, including their activity with the wars & commerce of the day that included slave owning by Henry Thompson and, according to the recent revelation, by Mr. Johns Hopkins. The tour will be presented and then a question and answer period will follow. 

The Tour will begin at 10:00am. Tour will last approximately 45 minutes and feature a Q & A at the end to answer any and all of your burning questions.

RSVP in advance to www.eventbrite.com and get your tickets.

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

Tours are temporarily cancelled. We will update you when tours begin again.

The Clifton Mansion Legacy Team is committed to bringing virtual tours on the Third Saturdays of every month until we can hold face to face tours in the hopefully near future.