John Ridgely, Jr.

Historic black and white photograph of John Ridgely, Jr.
John Ridgely, Jr.

NPS

Sixth, and final, owner of Hampton, John Ridgely, Jr. (1882-1959), earned a law degree at the University of Maryland and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to work for the Maryland Casualty Company there. Soon after, however, he returned to Baltimore and built a house on Hampton estate land not far from the mansion, where he and his first wife, Louise, raised three children including John Ridgely III. The family moved back to the mansion after Louise’s death in 1934. Faced with declining income from the dwindling estate—significant acreage had been condemned by Baltimore City for the creation of Loch Raven in 1914—and ever rising costs, John, Jr. attempted to resurrect the family fortunes by forming the Hampton Company in 1929 to develop the remaining estate lands. The Great Depression and World War II, however, delayed this effort and Hampton became too expensive for him to maintain.

By good fortune, however, in May 1944, David E. Finley, Director of the recently opened National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, visited Hampton hoping to acquire Thomas Sully’s great portrait of Eliza Ridgely, Lady with a Harp. During Finley’s visit, John, Jr. expressed his concern for the preservation of Hampton. Over the next few years, through Finley’s assistance and connections, arrangements were made to sell the core of the estate to the Avalon Foundation, a Mellon family foundation, which, in turn, donated it to the National Park Service in 1948. John, Jr. and his second wife, Jane Rodney Ridgely, then moved from the mansion across the street to the Lower House, which they had restored and expanded.

Last updated: June 21, 2020

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Mailing Address:

535 Hampton Lane
Towson , MD 21286

Phone:

410.823.1309

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