Preservation

The preservation of America’s Heritage takes many forms.  At Sotterley, it takes the form of a magnificent plantation house, slave dwelling, outbuildings and grounds that for nearly three centuries have been lovingly cared for by those who lived and worked there. Now it is being preserved by a dedicated staff and hundreds of volunteers who keep the stories alive.  Sotterley represents the very best of historic preservation today and it deserves our support.  It will always have mine.” 

- Richard Moe, President Emeritus, National Trust for Historic Preservation 

Sotterley has come a long way since its ranking as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation 25 years ago. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our Board, Descendants, Staff, Volunteers and Donors, our beautiful site is not only standing, but thriving. 

 

Maintaining such an extensive and historical site is not without its challenges.  Unlike other historic sites which recreate spaces, Historic Sotterley’s expansive manor house, slave cabin, and outbuildings are original and cover several centuries worth of history. We strive to protect and restore these incredible pieces of history, but at the same time we also have over 94 acres of beautiful habitat to preserve. Our goal is to strike the balance between preserving history and preserving the environment. 

 

At the heart of these efforts is a passion for ensuring that all Sotterley visitors learn and connect with the challenging realities of our history and leave with a respect for both the past and our environment that will stay with them for years to come. 

Historic Preservation

Site Square - Landmark

Preservation Designations

National Historic Landmark

Middle Passage Port Markers Site

UNESCO Site of Memory for the Routes of Enslaved Peoples Project

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Preservation Awards

2017 Maryland Sustainable Growth Award for Preservation & Conservation

2018 Maryland Preservation Award for Slave Dwelling Exhibit dedicated to Agnes Kane Callum 

SlaveDwelling

Historic Buildings

Manor House (1703), Warehouse (1757), Slave Dwelling (1830s), Gatehouses (1830s and 1910s), Smokehouse (19th century), Corncrib (19th century), Spinning Cottage (mid-20th century)

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Colonial Revival Garden

Our beautiful garden dates back to the Satterlee era of ownership between 1910 and 1940. It is maintained by the volunteers of the Historic Sotterley Garden Guild and is available for visitors to experience year-round.

Environmental Stewardship

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Stormwater Management

As an active farm, sustainability is at the core of our mission. We work closely with DNR to develop our stormwater and nutrient management practices, and have reduced run-off into local waterways by 90%. 

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Environmental Education

Historic Sotterley is a partner of the Elms Environmental Education Center and hosts Elms educators and students from across St. Mary's County to explore and learn about local ecosystems.

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Grassland Birds

We have worked closely with David Moulton, founder of Saving Southern Maryland's Grassland Birds, to study alternate hay harvesting techniques to increase the reproductive success of grassland birds.

Keep up with our preservation news

Linseed Oil Paint – An Unlikely Hero in Preservation

January 11, 2024

Interested in why linseed oil paint was used for the finish of the window sash in our Fall 2023 Preservation Update? Linseed oil paint has been used for centuries quite simply because it works so well at protecting the substrate and creating good aesthetic appearance.…

Slave Dwelling Preservation Update from Fall 2023

January 11, 2024

If you have been on site lately, you may have spotted our team making repairs to the Slave Dwelling. Recently, we have repaired the sash of a window, cleaned the roof, and repaired the second tread on a stair. These repairs were made possible because…