Funds to help restore parts of plantation

Public will be able to see Hampton slave quarters and farmhouse eventually

May 24, 1999|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

In a boost to its 2-year-old fund-raising campaign, Hampton National Historic Site recently received $200,000 in National Park Service funding to help restore the farmhouse and slave quarters at the 18th-century plantation in Towson.

The money will go toward turning a dilapidated, pre-Revolutionary War farmhouse -- considered to be the oldest home in Baltimore County -- into a multipurpose center and to open one of three slave quarters to the public. The 63-acre site has about 22 buildings, including barns and a dairy.

"Hampton is truly one of Maryland's treasures," said a statement issued by Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who made the funding announcement with Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. The funding, he added, shows that "it is also one of America's national treasures."

"If we are to enrich our future, we must remember our past," Sarbanes stated. "In providing these federal funds to help restore facilities at Hampton, we enable this treasure to survive for future generations to enjoy."

The funding, which requires that Hampton raise a 50 percent match in nonfederal money, is being made available from the Historic Preservation Fund. It also is part of the Save America's Treasures program, which supports historic preservation projects that convey the nation's heritage and serve as educational tools for future generations.

Although Hampton is known mostly for its 33-room Georgian mansion built about 1790, the park's $1.5 million capital project focuses more attention on the slaves, indentured servants and crafts people who made up the self-contained village that revolved around agriculture and ironwork.

The funds will be used to abate the effects of age and weather on the farmhouse and slave quarters, and eventually allow public access to both. Hampton attracts about 30,000 visitors annually.

About two years ago, the National Park Service provided emergency funds to Hampton after a broken hot-water pipe flooded the dining room, and a $750,000 grant from Baltimore County was used to replace the damaged roof.

"The Hampton National Historic Site is an important bridge to Maryland's cultural and architectural past," Mikulski said in a prepared statement.

"This new funding will provide vital restoration to the site and help ensure that Hampton can continue to enrich and educate the public for years to come."

Pub Date: 5/24/99

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