Erected high on a hill above the Gunpowder River Valley, Perry Hall Mansion dominated life in northeastern Baltimore County in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Built in the 1770s by Harry Dorsey Gaugh, Perry Hall was named after the family castle near Birmingham England. The 16-room home, the seat of a vast plantation, soon became one of the leading houses in colonial Maryland. The mansion, considered a “sister” house to Hampton Mansion not very far away, turned from a house of raucous parties to a place of more reserved pleasure as Gaugh and his wife, Prudence, became ardent supporters of the early Methodist movement that had strong roots in Maryland.
Gaugh became a distinguished planter, a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates, and on the board of one of Maryland’s first orphanages. After Gaugh’s death in 1808, the mansion remained in the family for nearly 50 years. It was sold to a group of investors in 1852 that carved the plantation into lots for houses, many of which went to German immigrants. By 2001, the estate had dwindled to four acres and the house was sold to Baltimore County for use as a museum and community center. The County completed a first stage of restoration in 2004, and exterior restoration won an award from the Preservation Alliance of Baltimore County as an “outstanding public project.” The Friends are continuing with the restoration of this stately home.