September 5, 2017

Another Old House and a Monastery

Last fall, I was doing some research on the early 1900’s Baltimore architects, Palmer & Lamdin, and came across a listing of all of their works. Most of their work was done in several Baltimore neighbourhoods, but one address stood out – it was about 20 miles west of the city, in what would have been a very rural area of the state. I looked up the address and found that it was actually a monastery! IMG_4746

For months, I’ve been meaning to drive out and check it out, but it was only this past weekend that I had the time. Luckily, after a day of heavy rain, Sunday was gorgeous and cool, with tons of great clouds.

The old house, and by old, it dates from 1732, was a bit of a surprise, since I was only expecting a monastery! It’s called Carrollton Manor, and you can read its history here. It was given by Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, to his grand-daughter, Emily MacTavish. Interestingly, I was on the Board of Directors of Carroll’s house in Baltimore City.IMG_4727It was originally intended as a five-part Georgian manor house, but the wings were never built, resulting in a rather plain edifice. In this image, you can see the cupola on top of the house – a great way to provide ventilation. IMG_4737The view from the house is lovely – overlooking fields which are now farmed by the University of Maryland’s agriculture program, and provide income for the property. IMG_4726I was able to take my “signature peek” into the house, by flattening my camera lens onto a window. I combined two images taken from either side of the front door, so you can get an idea of the grandeur of the main hall. My understanding is that this house is being renovated and will be in use once again, instead of lying fallow. IMG_4731xThere was some beautiful ironwork on the house and I had fun taking pictures of it. IMG_4720

After I left the house, I wandered up to the monastery, which is actually the Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua. He’s one of my personal favourite saints, as he is, among other things, the finder of lost objects. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve summoned his help, and he’s promptly found the object. IMG_4744Honestly, this place was so unexpected! The shrine is based on the Sacro Convento of Assisi, the friary in Italy where St. Francis for whom the Franciscn Order of monks is named, is buried. It’s a little piece of Italy in the Maryland countryside.

Four arcades surround a formerly cloistered courtyard with a fountain in the center. Luckily, when I was there, it was very quiet and I could walk through the space and contemplate… things. IMG_4748IMG_4750x

Of course, there’s a chapel at the monastery and it was not what I expected, either. Parts look like the original from the 1920’s and other pieces are clearly the from the 70’s. IMG_4758

There is a long passage that’s behind the arcades where the offices, dining room, library and other rooms are located. IMG_4761

As I mentioned, it was just a gorgeous day, as you can see by these pictures. IMG_4762IMG_4771

It is always such fun to find places like this that are hidden in plain sight!


  1. what a gorgeous set of buildings! That main hall of the house is astounding - and the monastery is just great. LOVE that last image of the rather plain hall with barrel vaulted ceiling. Gorgeous.

  2. I love your jaunts - and your superb photos and prose take me "with you!" As I do for so many of your safaris, I end up thinking "Who knew? Right here in Maryland!"

  3. I must be related to St. Anthony of Padua. I'm a "finder". I can find things that other people have lost, in places that I'm not familiar with. Sometimes even over the phone. Weird, but true. I'd never heard of St. Anthony of Padua, nor his assistance in finding lost things, but it's nice to know there was someone else who did this too.

  4. Off topic a bit, the tea towel designs-- have you offered a tea towel with the Pigtown design -- which reminds me of a brooks brother canvas tote I have I think the Pigtown Design would be a best seller and a Brand that you could parlay into a fortune.

  5. Just seeing these great photos. What a place - I need to see this in person!

  6. Meg, thank you. Didn't know this place existed. I learn so much from you!

    Looking forward to seeing you at the Harvest Ball next week. We'll dance!


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