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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Riverdale Park in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Welcome to Riversdale

The Stier-Calvert Mansion, 1801–1807

 
 
Welcome to Riversdale Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), December 11, 2021
1. Welcome to Riversdale Marker
Inscription.  
In the summer of 1794, as French Republican troops approached Antwerp, Flemish aristocrat Henri Joseph Stier (1743–1821) and his family fled to Philadelphia, taking with them their most valuable possessions, including the finest collection of Old World master paintings ever to cross the Atlantic at that time.

The Stier family moved to Annapolis in 1795. There Rosalie, the Stier's younger daughter (1778-1821) met George Calvert (1768-1838), a delegate to the Maryland Legislature and grandson of the fifth Lord Baltimore, the founding family of Maryland. Calvert was master of Mount Albion, a large plantation near Upper Malboro. He and Rosalie were married in the summer of 1799, spent part of their honeymoon trip at Mount Vernon, and took up residence at Mount Albion, now known as Goodwood.

In 1800, Henri Stier bought farmland near the port of Bladensburg and set about building a plantation house. Henri Stier and his wife moved into the east wing in 1802. In 1803, the Stier family, except for Rosalie, took advantage of an amnesty to return to Antwerp. The development of the plantation was left to Rosalie and George Calvert,
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who moved into the still unfinished house, by then called Riversdale, and completed its construction by 1807. They raised their children at Riversdale and spent the rest of their lives there. They are buried in the nearby Calvert family cemetery. Rosalie's letters to her family, published in Mistress of Riversdale, offer an intimate picture of upper-class family life near the Federal City in the days of the Republic and are a basis for the present restoration of the mansion. The painting collection remained at Riversdale until 1816, when it was returned to Antwerp; since then the paintings have found their way into museums and private collections all over the world.

In 1838, Riversdale passed to Rosalie and George Calvert's second son, Charles Benedict Calvert (1808–1863)—U.S. Congressman, progressive farmer, and principal founder of the Maryland Agricultural College, now the University of Maryland at College Park. His heirs eventually sold Riversdale and some 450 acres in 1887 to a New York firm developing a planned "railroad suburb" called Riverdale Park.

During the next 50 years, Riversdale had a series of private owners. In the late 1940s, retired U.S. Congressman Abraham Lafferty sold the house with its remaining grounds to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which used Riversdale as offices until restoration began in 1988.
Welcome to Riversdale Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, March 18, 2006
2. Welcome to Riversdale Marker
This is a previous iteration of the marker. While the information is identical, the formatting is slightly different. The only information that is different is the tour information, which is not part of the transcription of historical information.
Riversdale was reopened to the public in 1993 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997.
 
Erected by Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: LandmarksNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1794.
 
Location. 38° 57.64′ N, 76° 55.952′ W. Marker is in Riverdale Park, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker can be reached from Riverdale Road west of Taylor Road. Riverdale Road is parallel to East-West Highway (State Route 410). Taylor Road has an intersection with East-West Highway two blocks north of Riverdale Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale MD 20737, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Signs of War (a few steps from this marker); This Demiculverin (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Riversdale Dependency (about 300 feet away); Betty's Garden (about 400 feet away); Welcome to the Riversdale Garden (about 400 feet away); Riverdale School (about 500 feet away); Riverdale Park (about 500 feet away); The Harry Smith House (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Riverdale Park.
 
Welcome to Riversdale Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), December 11, 2021
3. Welcome to Riversdale Marker
sectionhead>More about this marker. Park at the mansion's parking lot on 48th Avenue at Oliver Street.
 
Also see . . .
1. Riverdale Town History, 1800–1899. (Submitted on March 21, 2006.)
2. Riverdale Town History, 1900–1999. (Submitted on March 21, 2006.)
3. Riversdale Virtual Tour. (Submitted on March 21, 2006.)
 
Riversdale image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, March 18, 2006
4. Riversdale
West Side of the Mansion image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, March 18, 2006
5. West Side of the Mansion
South Side of the Mansion image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, March 18, 2006
6. South Side of the Mansion
South Lawn with the Demiculverin image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, March 18, 2006
7. South Lawn with the Demiculverin
The demiculverin is the 1600's naval cannon in the photo, which was presented to Charles B. Calvert in 1845.
Left Gatepost Plaque image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, March 18, 2006
8. Left Gatepost Plaque
Right Gatepost Plaque image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, March 18, 2006
9. Right Gatepost Plaque
Riversdale, 1801, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. This building possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America. 1997 National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 21, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,360 times since then and 30 times this year. Last updated on December 12, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1. submitted on December 11, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   2. submitted on March 21, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   3. submitted on December 11, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on March 21, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 16, 2024