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Mount Clare Museum House
In 1756, Charles Carroll, Barrister, began construction of Mount Clare at Georgia Plantation. He named his new summer residence after his grandmother, Mary Clare Dunn, and his sister, Mary Clare Carroll (Maccubbin). The house was built in the Georgian style of soft pink brick, laid in allheader bond, most of which would have been made on the plantation. A series of grass ramps led from the bowling green down shaded terraces or falls. A sweeping view spread across the lower fields to the waters of the Patapsco River, about one mile away.

The style in which the Carrolls lived is indicated by the Barrister's many orders of clothing and furnishings both here and abroad. As were most gentlemen of wealth and property of those days, Charles Carroll was interested in the breeding and racing of blooded horses. His Letter Book notes, "…I want a stop watch with a second hand to try their speed…"

The center portion of the house was balanced by wings connected by hyphens. There was a greenhouse with "orange and lemon trees just ready to bear besides which is a new building, a pinery, where the gardener expects some (pineapples) to ripen next summer." Mrs. Carroll had a great interest in horticulture. Contemporary letters indicate that pineapples and broccoli were raised in the pinery and that General Washington wrote Mrs. Carroll asking her advice on plants to grow at Mount Vernon as well as information on the construction and heating of a greenhouse.

Entrance to the house on the land side is by the carriage entrance through a columned portico paved with gray and white marble, above which is a chamber with a fine Palladian window. The Barrister's Letter Book shows an order, dated October 6, 1764, to his agent in England, for 150 gray flagstones ". . thick and strong for an outside piazza". Three years later, the Barrister ordered limestone columns from Bath.

The house is entered through double doors into a central passage. Straight ahead a doorway leads into a parlor and to the left is the dining room. At the immediate right of the front door is the Barrister's study, and at the opposite end of the passage a handsome staircase leads to the second floor.

The walls in the main block of the house are plaster, resembling wood paneling, a fire preventive measure. The plaster has never been replaced. The walls and ceilings are joined by heavy plaster cornices.

Mr. Carroll had taken an interest in the young Charles Willson Peale, a saddle maker in Annapolis. The Barrister was one of a group of Annapolis gentlemen who contributed funds so that Peale might journey to England to develop his artistic talent. In 1770, upon Peale's return from London, where he studied under Benjamin West, the American Quaker, he painted the large portraits of the Barrister and his wife which now hang in their original positions in the parlor.
Margaret Carroll's Dress
Some of Mrs. Carroll's own white and gold furniture of the Louis XV period and other Carroll pieces are displayed in the parlor. Original papers describing objects ordered by the Barrister from England for his country house include "Turkey carpets, mirrors in gilt frames, dressing tables of mahogany and hepplewhite chairs." About eighty percent of the furnishings at Mount Clare are original to the house or family.

Having a room set aside for dining, often called the "eating parlor", was an innovation in the 18th century. Previously, tables had been set up for dining in the parlor or wherever the family wished to be served. On display in the dining room at Mount Clare are 18th and early 19th century English silver, Chinese export porcelain and European crystal. All the furniture in the dining room belonged to the Carrolls. Storage closets with arched tops and winged doors were built in on each side of the fireplace. The mantels in both the parlor and dining room are of Adam design, plaster paneled and faced with marble. These were a part of Mrs. Carroll's remodeling when, as a widow, she resided at Mount Clare throughout the year.
Period Shoe
The second floor has three bedchambers and a delightful small sitting room, lighted by the beautiful Palladian window. Cabinets display Carroll family porcelain, personal items, and a collection of 18th century teapots.

The bedchambers contain fine 18th century English and American furnishings. There are two cradles one of which was used by Charles Carroll as an infant and the other, by Margaret Tilghman, born January 13, 1742.

© 2007 Mount Clare Museum House | Carroll Park | 1500 Washington Blvd | Baltimore, MD 21230 | 410.837.3262 |
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