Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel
National Historic Registry Property
In 1844, Antrim was built by Col. Andrew Ege (1813-1876) on land inherited by his wife Margaret, from her father Major John McKaleb. This magnificent plantation was named in honor of the McKaleb’s family ancestral home in County Antrim, Ireland. Truly an American treasure, Antrim exemplifies a quintessential brick Greek Revival Mansion with Federal influences that exhibits a classic example of a mid-nineteenth century agrarian plantation. Nestled at the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains in Taneytown, Maryland, this area abounds with immense rural beauty and is rich in history. Col. Ege engaged in raising livestock and farming on his 450 acres prestigious estate, much the same as the farmers in Carroll County do at the present.
Miraculously, most of the original outbuildings that supported the lifestyle of an important property of that era, are still intact today. The Carriage House, the Ice House, the Post House, the Summer Kitchen, the Brick Kitchen, the Overseer’s Wing, the Barn, the Spring House and even the brick double-sided Outhouse.
From the moment you see Antrim, the towering white columns on the sweeping grand porches, through the impressive double front doors and vestibule and entrance hall to the breathtaking cantilever staircase that spirals gracefully up to the third floor. The beautiful identical Drawing Rooms boast 14 foot ceilings enhanced by plaster medallions and crown molding, oversized Monticello windows and interior shutters set off by white marble mantels carved by William Rinehart (a prominent sculpture from Carroll County)and heart pine floors. Beyond are the masterfully restored Formal English Tea Rose Gardens stoically anchored by twin bronze fountains. Enjoying a memorably romantic sunset from the garden probably hasn’t changed very much in the last 170 years. A large glass-enclosed cupola is proudly perched atop this 17,000 square foot mansion, flooding it with sunlight. Legend has said that this was used as a lookout for troop advancement prior to the battle of Gettysburg.
In 1856, rumor has it that Col. Ege unfortunately went bankrupt and sold Antrim to a gentlemen named Piper. Not much history was recorded until George Washington Clabaugh bought Antrim in 1873. His son, Harry Morris Clabaugh, was elected Attorney General of Maryland (1895-1898) and was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President Roosevelt in 1903. Benjamin P. Lamberton (1878-1938) married Helen Clabaugh (1881-1946) and had three children, Harry, Ben and Helen. Antrim remained in their families’ possession for nearly 100 years. Many dignitaries from Washington, DC frequented gala parties here and it was the site of many important family functions and gatherings.
In 1961, Antrim changed hands once again when George Crouse (a well known Taneytown businessman) purchased the property and 24 surrounding acres. Although Mr. Crouse never lived in the house, he maintained it and opened it up to large town functions and shared it with friends. Most importantly, under George’s ownership, Antrim was honorably placed on the National Historic Registry. The Crouses decided to put in on the market after George passed away. That is when, on one fateful day in 1987, Dorothy and Richard Mollett saw Antrim for the first time and fell instantly in love with it and understood the potential of how grand it must have been in its day.
After purchasing Antrim, “Dort” and Richard Mollett’s mission was to bring the tired and neglected property back to its original splendor. They knew they had found a complex and unique challenge in the restoration and maintenance of this important historic gem. Fortunately, the Molletts had restored six historic homes in the Baltimore area, and were prepared for the challenges and diligent work and problem-solving required to tackle such a massive undertaking. By the end of 1988, Antrim opened the first and second floor of the mansion as a Bed and Breakfast destination which offered four handsome guest rooms with private baths, a delicious breakfast and peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of life within close proximity to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. With a plethora of activities ranging from historic sightseeing and festivals to walking tours, bike tours and nature parks. Antrim was rediscovered.
Over the last 25 years, Dort and Richard has restored, expanded, constructed and reconstructed many different aspects of the property. With the purchases of 5 additional houses on adjoining Mill Avenue, Antrim presently enjoys the distinguished honor of a luxurious boutique 40-room Country House Hotel with an award-winning fine dining restaurant with an expansive wine cellar. The Glass Garden Pavilion lends itself beautifully for Weddings and Corporate Retreats. The Molletts have also added a gift shop, swimming pool, tennis court, croquet lawn, horseshoes, badminton and a nature trail by the stream for their guest’s enjoyment. Future projects include renovating another house on Mill Avenue, adding four additional guest rooms and constructing a Spa with lovely treatment rooms and and an exercise facility.
It has been an amazing transformation to see Antrim’s rebirth. Now filled with interesting guests from all over the world being wined and dined and treated like royalty, as it was graciously designed to do in the mid-nineteenth century. Another chapter in history has unfolded!
Slonaker House - Bradford Slonaker lived in the house from 1875 to 1918 and made annual trips to Vermont by train to personally select the large stones which he later carved by himself and then transported the grave stones to the cemetery in Taneytown in a small horse-drawn cart.
Zepp House - This was originally the residence of famed Taneytown photographer Edward Zepp.
Birnie House - The home of Dr. Clotworthy Birnie, a prominent Taneytown physician. Born in 1843 at his family farm, Glenburn. His nieces Amelia and Elizabeth Annan, resided at the Birnie residence. He had his doctor’s office and waiting room on the first floor.
Glenburn - Built in 1840 by Rogers Birnie. He operated a boys boarding school from 1847 to 1877. In the late 1800’s, U.S. Congressman Joseph Goulden purchased the house and farm situated on Bear Branch Creek. In 1937, Chester and Gippie Neal, of Kentucky, bought it and raised their family there. Robert and Elizabeth Neal then took over and in 1983 opened Carroll County’s first Bed and Breakfast there. In 2007, Dort and Richard Mollett bought it and have been restoring it as their residence.
Witherow House - Harry, Grace and Lester Witherow resided in this house in the early 1900’s. One of Grace’s nieces, Wilma Witherow Wood Pecachek, was a dear friend of Dort and Richard Mollett.
Sgt. John Buffington - Born near Taneytown in 1841. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted with the Union. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery.
Eli Bentley - Famous clockmaker who worked in Taneytown during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Some of his beautiful tall case clocks are still in existance today. Originally purchased for the grand sum of nearly $100 are now valued well over $20,000 in today’s antique market.
Many of Antrim’s guest rooms are named in honor or important Generals and Officers during the Civil War, while other’s are named after Mollett family members.