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About Us

Belmont Manor and Historic Park is located in Elkridge (MD) and operated by the Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks. This elegant Howard County estate is a premier venue for weddings, business meetings, conferences, corporate retreats, special events (baby shower, bat mitzvah & Bar mitzvah, quinceañera, tea parties, etc.) and much more! It features nearly 68 acres of rolling hills, the Belmont Manor House, a carriage house, cottage, large barn, formal gardens, a pond and an aqua garden. 

Preserving Belmont Manor's History -
A Journey Through Time

Belmont Manor is currently listed on the Maryland Historic Trust (MHT), Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) and is on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as part of the Lawyers Hill Historic District (Elkridge, MD). While currently owned by Howard County and operated by the Department of Recreation & Parks, its former owners include: the Smithsonian Institution, the American Chemical Society, and Howard Community College.


Indigenous Land and Enslaved Peoples Acknowledgement

The purpose of this land acknowledgement and pledge echoes the Statewide commitment to unearth and understand those who were displaced and enslaved through colonialism. Howard County Recreation Parks is committed to making Belmont Manor and Historic Park and its Howard County parks more accessible, inclusive, and equitable, especially for those people most affected by societal inequities. The Department is doing this by supporting and learning from all our Howard County communities.

In addition the Department pays special tribute to the Native Americans and Indigenous People. From the colony’s first founding in 1634 until the abolishment of slavery in 1864, Maryland has had an unfortunate history of slavery. The Department echo the Maryland’s Guide to the History of Slavery which reads '[we] regret the role Maryland played in instituting and maintaining slavery.


If you have documented history related to Belmont Manor, please contact us so we may independently research and evaluate for inclusion.

Belmont Manor & Historic Park Timeline

1738: Belmont was built as a private, manor house for Caleb and Priscilla Dorsey of Elkridge that was then passed on through generations of the Dorsey, Hanson and Bruce families.  

1860: Federal Slave Census shows Charles Hanson had 10 enslaved people on this property.  (Another record reveals 11 people: Mollie Barnes, age 62; Elizabeth Hall, age 45; Louisa Hall, age 25; Alcinda Hall, age 18; Charlotte Hall, age 16; Howard Hall, age 11; Frank Hall, age 7; Harry Hall, age 4; Achsah Hall, age 3; Rebecca Hall, age 2; and Eliza Hall, age 2.)

1926:  Thoroughbred Billy Barton (owned by Howard Bruce, the resident at Belmont in 1926) became the first (and only) horse to win the four-mile Maryland Hunt Cup and Virginia Gold Cup in the same year. (There is a statue of this famous horse outside of the Laurel Park Track’s entrance - unveiled in 1952.)  Billy Barton was buried wearing full tack, in an upright position, alongside another one of Bruce’s horses near the barn on the Belmont property with a marked grave.

1961: Howard Bruce died. The property was then given to his cousin David Bruce, the former Ambassador to Britain. David Bruce then gave Belmont to the Smithsonian Institute. The Smithsonian converted Belmont into a conference center. U.S. Generals, Vice Presidents, astronauts, and many more notables used Belmont to meet as it was a quiet, controlled setting near Washington, D.C.

1983: The 85-acre estate was sold to the American Chemical Society, which continued the tradition of providing hospitality to world leaders.

2004: The Howard Community College assumed ownership. They offered hospitality classes and hosted retreats and events.

2012: Howard County Recreation and Parks purchased the property on June 21 to ensure the stewardship of the site. The department restored the manor that now sits on 68 acres of rolling hills.  The site now includes The Cottage House, The Carriage House, a caretaker’s house, a barn, an aqua garden, gardens, and a cemetery. The Howard County Conservancy uses The Carriage House as one of their locations.

Leave the overwhelming details to us.

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