Hampton National Historic Site today preserves the core of what was once a vast commercial, industrial, and agricultural estate that encompassed nearly 25,000 acres at its height. Hampton is the collection of stories of the many people who came through the estate - the few who chose to be there, such as the Ridgelys (owners of the estate), the several who were there out of necessity (indentured servants and paid laborers), and the many enslaved people forced to be there. All played a vital role in the development of the estate.
In the midst of this agricultural powerhouse, the Hampton mansion, a massive Georgian style house set on a hill that was a statement of its builder’s pride and success, was constructed. At 24,000 square feet, the house may have been the largest private residence in the United States when completed in 1790. The architectural masterpiece became a symbol of wealth and power for some, but oppression for others. The elegantly furnished mansion is set amid formal gardens and landscaped shaded grounds, truly making it an island of tranquility in the sea of labor happening around it and masking the persecution within.
Last updated: May 9, 2020