Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel
A National Historic Trust 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 estate was named in honor of the McKaleb's family ancestral home in County Antrim, Ireland. Truly and 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 today.
Miraculously, most of the original outbuildings which 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, vestibule and entrance hall to the cantilever staircase that spirals gracefully up to the third floor, you'll be amazed by the breathtaking splendor of another era. The beautiful identical Drawing Rooms boast 14-foot ceilings enhanced by plaster medallions and crown molding, over-sized Monticello windows with interior shutters set off by white marble mantels carved by William Rinehart (a prominent sculptor from Carroll County), and heart pine floors. Beyond are the masterfully restored Formal English Tea Rose Gardens stoically anchored by twin bronze fountains. A large glass cupola is proudly perched atop this 17,000 square foot mansion, flooding it with sunlight. Legend has said, the cupola was used as a lookout for troop advancement prior to the battle of Gettysburg.
In 1856, Col. Ege sold Antrim to a gentleman named Piper. Not much history was recorded on Antrim 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 family's 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 surrounding 24 acres. Although 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 Trust Register. The Crouses decided to place it 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. They 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, 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 guestrooms with private baths, a delicious breakfast and a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of life within close proximity to Baltimore and Washington, DC.
Over the last 25 years Dort and Richard have restored, expanded, constructed and reconstructed many different aspects of the property. With the purchase of five additional houses on adjoining Mill Avenue, Antrim currently enjoys the distinguished honor of a luxurious boutique 40-room country house hotel with an award-winning fine dining restaurant and an expansive wine cellar. The glass-enclosed pavilion lends itself beautifully for weddings and corporate retreats. The Molletts have also added a gift shop, swimming pool, tennis court, croquet lawn, horseshoes and badminton. Future projects include renovating another house on Mill Avenue adding four additional guestrooms, constructing a spa with lovely treatment rooms and an exercise facility, and a nature trail by the stream for guests' enjoyment.
It has been an amazing transformation to see Antrim's rebirth. Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel is 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!