Homewood Privy, c. 1801
In 1801 Charles Carroll Jr. (1775-1825) began building Homewood, a fashionable summer retreat on 130 rolling acres of farmland that afforded a view to Baltimore's harbor. Built at the same time as the house, this small square structure with a pyramidal roof served as the privy or outhouse and preserves a special part of Homewood history.
Location is Key
Carefully sited and built of brick, Homewood's privy was designed to be permanent. Marking the boundary between the gardens and the orchards, its location was part of a sophisticated mathematical plan. The overall 128-foot length of the house appears to have been used as the radius of a circle whose center is 128 feet from the north porch The privy falls on the circumference of this circle.
A Commodious Interior
The spacious ten- by thirteen-foot plan is divided in half—one side for men with three seats and the other for women and children with four seats. Beneath a domed plaster ceiling the walls are paneled in chestnut and painted in imitation of stone. The "pits" below each seat are lined in stone. Windows and a central vent stack provided
The Privy in Later Years
The Carrolls owned Homewood until 1839, when they sold it to the Wyman family. The privy's interior paneling retains illustrations, poetry, and other boyish graffiti dating from 1897 to 1910, when Homewood served as the Country School for Boys (now the Gilman School). Restoration work in 2011 revealed a stovepipe behind a patch in the brickwork, indicating that heating had been installed for the boys' comfort.
In 1902 the Wyman family donated 130-acre Homewood tract to Johns Hopkins University to serve as its new suburban campus. The university found many uses for the house before it was restored and opened as a teaching museum in 1987. Guided tours are offered Tuesdays through Sundays and visitors can see the privy's interior upon request.
Erected by Johns Hopkins University.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Education.
Location. 39° 19.822′ N, 76° 37.136′ W. Marker is in Johns Hopkins Homewood in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker can be reached from North Charles
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Homewood (a few steps from this marker); Orchard (within shouting distance of this marker); "Isaac Newton" Apple Tree (within shouting distance of this marker); Farmhouse & Slave Quarters (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Keyser Quadrangle (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Homewood (about 400 feet away); The Sheridan Libraries (about 500 feet away); Greenhouse (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Johns Hopkins Homewood.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 15, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 15, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.