Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, Maryland

Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, St. Mary's County, Maryland

Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, St. Mary’s County, Maryland

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Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, Maryland

Sotterley Plantation is the only remaining Tidewater Plantation in Maryland that is open to the public.  It is located on the banks of the Patuxent River in Hollywood, St. Mary’s County.

The Plantation House is older that Mount Vernon, older than Monticello, and in fact older than the nation itself.  The original house, consisting of only two rooms, was built in 1703 by James Bowles.  He was the son of a wealthy London tobacco merchant and member of the Lower House of Assembly in Maryland.  Although the house was built in 1703, James did not register the purchase of the 2,000 acre tract of land until 1710 calling it Resurrection Manor.  In 1716 he resurveyed 890 acres as Bowles Preservation.  It is these 890 acres that would become Sotterley Plantation.

Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, St. Mary's County, Maryland

Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, St. Mary’s County, Maryland

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

James Bowles died in 1727.  Two years later, his young widow, Rebecca, married George Plater II.  Over the ensuing years, the Plater family converted the simple two room house into a charming 18th century mansion house.  The extended house was named after the Plater family ancestral home, Sotterley Hall, in Suffolk England.  It was under George Plater III, who inherited the house in 1755, that the house reached its distinctive form which became the model for other such homes in the region including George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Although over 300 years old, Sotterley Plantation has only ever been owned by four families.  The last family to own the property were the Satterlees.  Herbert Satterlee and his wife Louisa, daughter of J P Morgan, bought the house in 1910.  In a twist of fate, the Satterlees, like the Platers, traced their ancestry to Sotterley Hall in England.

Sotterley Plantation, hollywood, St. Mary's County, Maryland

Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, St. Mary’s County, Maryland

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

The Satterlees spent several years restoring the Mansion house and grounds to their 18th century condition, subsequently using it as their summer residence.  Herbert and Louisa’s daughter, Mabel Satterlee Ingalls, purchased the plantation in 1947.  Having grown to love Sotterley through a childhood of summers spent amidst its charms, she determined to preserve it and to share it. In 1961, she created the non-profit Sotterley Mansion Foundation, later becoming Historic Sotterley, Inc., which holds the historic site in trust for the public.

Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, St. Mary's County, Maryland

Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, St. Mary’s County, Maryland

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Sotterley was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2000. It is open to the public between May 1 and October 1 each year.  The grounds, though, are open year-round for self-guided visits and walks through the formal gardens and along the trails to the Patuxent River.  Over the next three posts we will take a look at some of the other buildings on the grounds of the plantation.

Click here to learn more about colonial Maryland and click here for more images of Sotterley Plantation

2 Comments

  1. These images really ‘pop’, Mark. What a handsome building with a fascinating history.
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