A Visit to Riversdale

On July 12, the University Archives staff took a trip to the Riversdale House Museum, the historic home of Charles Benedict Calvert, a direct descendant of the Lords Baltimore and the founder of the Maryland Agricultural College, the original name for the University of Maryland.

(left)Tableau in the Civil War exhibit. Charles Benedict Calvert’s portrait hangs at left on the wall. (right) Original stable, now a meeting room.

Riversdale, built in the early 1800s, has been restored to reflect the years between 1801 and 1838 when Charles Benedict Calvert’s father George and his wife Rosalie lived in the home. We discovered there are many interesting things for visitors to see at Riversdale, including a great new Civil War exhibit based on original Calvert family letters from the time period. One of our favorite things about the house, though, was the elaborate style and decoration of the rooms. We also enjoyed learning about the members of the Calvert family and their daily routines around the house. Riversdale even has a dairy and a wine cellar complete with bottles of wine under the front stairs.

(left) Portion of salon looking into the dining room. Rosalie Calvert grew lemon trees here in the winter, which were moved onto the front porch for the summer months. (right) Wine cellar in the basement.

You can learn more about the construction of the house from Margaret Callcott’s book, Mistress of Riversdale, the collected letters of Rosalie Calvert to her family members.

If you find yourself in the Riverdale Park/College Park/Hyattsville area, Riversdale is a great place for anyone interested in Maryland or 19th-century history. The house also hosts a variety of events for families and people of all ages. You can read more about the history of Riversdale and check out their events calendar using this link:  http://history.pgparks.com/sites_and_museums/Riversdale_House_Museum.htm#events

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