Home » Historical Landmarks » Wye House Plantation

Wye House Plantation

When Frederick Douglass was 7 or 8 years old he was taken by his grandmother, Betsey Bailey, to the Great House in the Wye Plantation about twelve miles from his birthplace, Holmes Hill Farm. Here Douglass was left on his own for the first time. It was common practice to bring young slaves who were too young to work in the plantations to the main house to do house and yard work.

 

Wye House

The Great House in the Wye Plantation where Frederick Douglass experienced the brutality of slavery for the first time.

 

Wye House Orangery

The orangery, possibly the oldest greenhouse left in the United States.

 

In his autobiographies he describes how for the first time in his life he experienced the brutal treatment of slaves by Aaron Anthony. Young Frederick Douglass lived in this house less than a year before he was given to the Auld family in Baltimore as a companion to their toddler son, Thomas.

Since 1650s the Wye plantation has been owned by the Lloyd family. At its peak, in the early 1800s, it covered 42,000 acres of land and was the residence of over 1,000 slaves. It was built for Edward Lloyd IV in a transitional style from late Georgian to early Federal architecture. In 1970 it was listed for preservation on the national register of Historic Places.

The orangery in the Wye plantation has been a source of interest as it is possibly the oldest greenhouse left in the United States. It was built in 1785 and excavations by archeologists from the University of Maryland in 2006 revealed a heating system which maintained heating, water system and light for its plants.

Today, Wye House is owned by Richard Tilghman Jr., the 11th generation of the Lloyd family living at Wye House.