NPS Hampton NHS
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  • Stop 8: Stables

    The stables are the two stone buildings with red shutters that stand across Hampton Lane. Please use the cross walk on your way to explore the stables.

    In 1745, the Maryland Jockey Club was founded, with Colonel Charles Ridgely, as one of the referees for races. Generations of the Ridgelys shared an interest in horse racing, and the family actively promoted racing throughout the region.

    The Hampton estate had its own private racetracks for training horses and in 1805, Charles Carnan Ridgely built the stable for his Thoroughbred racehorses just north of the mansion. This large two-story structure was constructed of stucco-covered rough stone and scored to match the walls of the Hampton mansion.

    By the mid-19th century, John Ridgely's main interest was in speedy carriage horses and he had a large new stable built for them in 1857. A separate carriage house was built directly across from the stables.

    The Ridgely relied on enslaved persons and free African American workers to manage, care for, and ride the racehorses, and to maintain and drive the carriages. Horse breeding increased the economic standing of the Ridgely family, through the purchase price of such good horses could be considerable. Enslaved persons often cost less than the racehorses.

    Read about Nathan Harris, a coachman who came to own his own stable and horse breeding business.