To escape the intolerable heat of Baltimore summers, Thomas Dekay Winans built this country house on land which he had purchased in 1855. Winans had recently returned from Russia, where he made a fortune supervising construction of the transcontinental railroad for Czar Nicholas I. This estate he called "Crimea," after the Russian peninsula of the same name.
The grounds, which originally encompassed nearly 1,000 acres, now include the mansion, a carriage house, a chapel, a honeymoon cottage and a caretaker's house. The mansion is of mid-nineteenth century Victorian architecture, built of Maryland stone with wood trim.
During the Civil War, the owners of Crimea were known Southern sympathizers. To discourage Union troops from entering the estate, the Winans constructed a hoax fort with fake cannons. Undeterred, the troops of General Benjamin Butler chopped up the estate's orchard for firewood, arrested Winans' father, Ross, and held him in Fort McHenry. Other prominent Baltimoreans including the mayor were also arrested for sessionist sentiments.
The city acquired these grounds in...
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