Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation
Montpelier Mansion

History

Ann Ridgely and "Major" Thomas Snowden, each a member of prominent Maryland families, married in 1774. In 1781, the couple commissioned the building of Montpelier, a five-part Georgian home near present-day Laurel in Prince George's County, Maryland. Situated upon a high knoll above the Patuxent River, the site commanded an unequaled view. Two firebacks in the house are inscribed "TSA 1783" indicating the owners and probable completion year of the mansion.

Seventy acres and the house remain of what was once a 9,000-acre plantation containing an array of outbuildings, including tobacco barns, stables, and slave quarters. Although limited documentation is available about the daily operations, enslaved Africans and indentured servants provided the labor as field hands and skilled craftsmen at the plantation and the nearby Patuxent Ironworks. 



The Snowdens' reputation for genteel hospitality and the proximity of their home to the main road to northern cities, such as Philadelphia and New York, made Montpelier host to many influential people. George Washington visited several times, most notably on his way to and from the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Abigail Adams also stayed at Montpelier and described the estate as a "Large, Handsome, Elegant House, where I was received with what we might term true English Hospitality."

Montpelier remained in the Snowden family until 1890. Throughout the years following 1890, the estate changed ownership several times and new facilities were constructed. In the early 1900's, the kitchen and servants' quarter's extension off the south wing were added, as was the seven-stall garage, known as the carriage house. The house was restored in the 1980s to reflect the occupation of Nicholas Snowden who inherited the house from his father and owned it until his death in 1831.

Montpelier Mansion, a National Historic Landmark, is one of the finest examples of 18th century Georgian architecture in the state. Large trees and boxwood grace the landscape which features a rare surviving 18th century summer house.
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