BNHA Clifton Park and Clifton Mansion

Resource Type

Points of Interest

Parks/Green Spaces

2701 St. Lo Dr

Baltimore, Maryland 21213

Clifton Park’s significant development began when Johns Hopkins acquired the property in 1841. Hopkins immediately set about reinventing the place in the fashionable style of the day. The existing Federal style house was remodeled into an Italian villa, named Clifton, and about 60 acres were landscaped with features including an artificial lake, island, rustic bridges, an orangery, a Gothic Gardener’s Cottage, and dozens of marble statues and sculpture. Hopkins, the founder of Johns Hopkins University, hoped that his estate would become part of the university campus, but after his death, University trustees chose to sell the estate to the City (1894).

Clifton is currently leased to Civic Works, a youth skills-training organization that provides a variety of services for City projects. Civic Works staff is working to restore the mansion to its 1850s appearance, and the quality of their completed work is very high. Civic Works has completed restoration of the Henry Thompson Room and the central hallway and they are currently restoring the mansion tower. Portions of the standing-seam tin roof and the tower, with its magnificent views of the city.

The Park

Clifton Park is home to several outstanding works of art. These include On the Trail and the site elements at Mother’s Garden. Mother’s Garden was dedicated in 1928, during the time of the “grandmother’s garden” movement in the United States. The design and plantings represented a celebration of patriotism and domestic pride. The old-fashioned plantings evoking cozy gardens were well maintained and included a water feature. The garden was renovated in the 1980s and rededicated to mothers by then Mayor William Donald Schaefer. The garden continues to be used for weddings and family events.

Clifton Park’s 260 acres make it one of the largest parks in the city and a significant asset to Baltimore’s network of public parks. An additional 50 acres of land developed as public schools and their grounds make the Park seem even larger. Active recreation features exist in the Park’s outer areas, while most of the historic buildings are located in the central, passive area of the Park. About half of Clifton Park’s acreage is reserved for a public 18-hole golf course and a “First Tee” youth golf teaching facility at the north end of the Park. Historically about 37 acres have been set aside for athletic fields, courts, and the swimming pool at the south end of the Park. The Park’s passive features are linked by about 48 acres of wooded lawn. Uses in this area include a playground, and historic features such as Clifton, the Valve House, the Band Shell, Gardener’s Cottage and Hilltop House.