John Ridgely, Jr.

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


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.




Learn More

  • The Ridgely Family of Hampton
    The Ridgely Family

    The Ridgely Family owned and managed the Hampton Estate for almost 200 years. Explore their impact on history!

  • 4 generations of ladies and girls of the Ridgely family on the north portico of Hampton mansion, NPS
    The Ridgelys of Hampton

    Learn about the history of the Ridgely family at Hampton.

  • Living Historian demonstrates the 19th century technique for harvesting corn.
    Free Black Laborers

    Free Black Laborers worked at Hampton for various reasons. A good amount did to eventually purchase their family members.

  • c. 1897 image of a tenant farmer woman outside the Enslavement Quarters. NPS
    Revealing the Lives of the Enslaved

    A recent Ethnographic Study uncovered major information on the lives of those enslaved at Hampton and their descendants. Read about it here.

  • Enslaved workers working on the plantation farm by the overseer's house and slave quarters.
    Slavery at Hampton

    From the colonial period through 1864, the Ridgelys enslaved over 500 people. Enslaved persons, from young children to the elderly

  • A historic picture of a part of the flower gardens called a parterre. A gardener in the middle. NPS
    History & Culture
    History & Culture

    Hampton National Historic Site today preserves the core of what was once a vast commercial, industrial, and agricultural plantation.

Last updated: April 12, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

535 Hampton Lane
Towson, MD 21286


410-962-4290 (option 2)

Contact Us