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The Rossborough Inn

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Title: The Rossborough Inn  
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Subject: University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland in the American Civil War, University of Maryland Security Operations Center, "M" Circle, Morrill Hall (University of Maryland)
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The Rossborough Inn

The Rossborough Inn is a historic building facing the old Washington Boulevard (also this section known as Baltimore Avenue - formerly known as the Washington and Baltimore Turnpike) and United States Route 1 on the eastern edge of the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park. Construction on the building began in 1798 and was completed in 1812, making it the oldest building on campus (older than the university itself - 1856) and the oldest building in the adjoining town of the City of College Park.[1] Built in the Federal style, lower flankling wings were added in 1938, when it underwent extensive renovations. It is listed as a historic site by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.[2]

The building was constructed by land speculator John Ross, with its original purpose being an inn and tavern for individuals traveling between Baltimore and Washington D.C. (on the old Washington and Baltimore Turnpike).[3] According to Anne Turkos, the archivist for the University of Maryland Libraries, the name '"Rossborough"' refers to the name of the area the inn was built on in the late 18th Century and early 19th Century, after landowner Richard Ross ("Rossborough" was used interchangeably with "Rossburg" as late as the 1920s).[4] By 1835, financial troubles had doomed the inn business and the building was being used as a farmhouse by its owner at the time, Charles Benedict Calvert, (1808-1864), whose family owned the nearby Riverdale Plantation. In 1858, Calvert donated the land that the Rossborough building sat on to the University of Maryland (then known as the Maryland Agricultural College, until 1916, then the Maryland State College for Agriculture, then merged in 1920 with the downtown Baltimore graduate professional schools and both campuses took the name "University of Maryland" which the Baltimore campus had used since 1812) and is referred to as the major founder and second president of the new school.[5]

Now a part of the school, the Rossborough Inn was a faculty residence in 1864 during the Civil War, when Confederate Army General Bradley T. Johnson (of Frederick, Maryland) and his cavalry brigade occupied the university grounds. Johnson used the Rossborough Inn as his headquarters.[6]

The building has been used for a variety of university functions since. Extensive renovations by the university (with the help of the federal government) have resulted in a much different contemporary appearance than the inn previously had.[7][8] It is currently used by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, but previously served for faculty and alumni functions (including serving as the home of University of Maryland Faculty and Alumni Club), and housed a restaurant (known as "The Carriage House") that served lunch on weekdays[5][9] According to campus lore, the Rossborough Inn is haunted.[10] Carved in the keystone above the front door is the head of Silenus, made of a rare Coade stone.[11][2]


  1. ^ "History". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "The Rossborough Inn Marker". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  4. ^ "Ask Anne, TERP Magazine Spring 2006". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  5. ^ a b "Maryland in News". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  6. ^ "The Rossborough Inn Marker". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  7. ^ "Mac To Millennium: Letter R". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  8. ^ "The Rossborough Inn Marker". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  9. ^ "History". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  10. ^ "Haunted Maryland :: University Communications Newsdesk, University of Maryland". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  11. ^ "Prince George's County Tricentennial". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
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