The Crimea Estate is the former summer home of Thomas DeKay Winans, a chief engineer of the Russian Railway between Moscow and St. Petersburg in the 19th Century. The estate features Winans' Italianate stone mansion, Orianda, as well as a gothic chapel, a "honeymoon" cottage, and a carriage house. The architectural design is said to have been inspired by Winans' French-Russian wife, Celeste Louise Revillon. An early, and now often overlooked, part of the estate is called Winans Meadow in Leakin Park. This current meadow was the site of an early milling operation along the Gwynns Falls River. An iron water wheel still remains that pumped water to the Orianda mansion. Along with the water wheel, a barn, silo, smokehouse, and root cellar also tell the story of early development in West Baltimore. There is even an intriguing battlement near the meadow that is thought to be modeled after the Battle of Balaklava where the Russian stand against the British was immortalized in Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Although Leakin Park has retained its original structures in a picturesque natural setting, it almost wasn't so. In the 1970s, federal and city officials planned to route Interstate 70 through the park in front of the mansion and directly through the carriage house. Saved by a group of dedicated Baltimoreans, the estate remains a central element in Leakin Park.
Watch our Five Minute Histories video on the water wheel!
Watch our Five Minute Histories video on Leakin Park!