Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation
Billingsley House

History

Billingsley is a unique example of a very early Tidewater brick plantation house in Prince George’s County. This 1-½ story house has a steeply pitched roof and 20-inch-thick brick walls laid in Flemish bond with glazed headers. Like many private homes of its day, the interior floor plan consisted of a central hall with two rooms on each side. The original interior kitchen fireplace is still evident in the basement. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the house was enlarged and modernized.

The house consists of a main block of five bays by two bays and a twentieth century wing.  The main entrance is in the central bay of the north façade.  There are wide interior brick chimneys on each gable end and a one-story sun room/garage added on the west gable end.

Significant alterations were made to Billingsley in 1931 by then-owner Arthur N. Meloy.  The steeply pitched cross gables and flanking dormers were added on both the north and south facades.  A sunroom and garage were added to the house, as well as bathrooms and electricity.  The river elevation of the house has been substantially altered by heavy excavating to allow a walk-in entrance.

Historical Significance

Billingsley Point, a 700-acre tract at the confluence of the Patuxent River and the Western Branch, was patented in 1662 to John Billingsley. Five hundred acres were conveyed by Billingsley’s heirs in 1687 to Colonel Thomas Hollyday, the first Chief Justice of the County Court.  He lived at Billingsley Point and built a plantation house there just slightly south of the present house.  In 1703, Thomas Hollyday devised “the plantation I now live upon, commonly called Billingsley Point” to his son James.   James Hollyday had married a wealthy widow and moved to her home on the Eastern Shore; however, he continued to manage the Billingsley plantation and even increased its acreage to 1069 acres.   In 1740, he sold the entire Billingsley tract to James Weems of Calvert County, reserving for himself and his heirs the graveyard where his father was buried. 

The current Billingsley house was constructed for James Weems around 1740. Four prosperous generations of the Weems family owned the estate during the next 100 years, ending with Mary Weems Mullikin in 1840. 



The property passed through a succession of owners until it was sold in 1917 to the Meloy family. The family maintained the property as a tenant farm until 1941, when son Samuel Meloy and his wife Frances moved into the house. In 1947, they obtained title to the farm and raised a family. Samuel Meloy was a well-known judge in Upper Marlboro.  To preserve the natural and historical setting of Billingsley, Samuel and Frances Meloy sold the property to the State of Maryland in 1989. M-NCPPC has a 99-year lease for the property.