Jacob Tome’s Port Deposit mansion
I have been very interested in Port Deposit, Maryland ever since I researched my York Sunday News column on Jacob Tome (1810-1898), multimillionaire philanthropist. Tome was born in the Hanover area of York County and grew up poor in Chanceford Township, but he worked his way up at Port Deposit to become Cecil County, Maryland’s first millionaire.
A good bit of information is available on Tome and on his Jacob Tome Institute free school for children, but I hadn’t found much before on his Port Deposit home. That was rectified last Sunday, thanks to the knowledgeable women at the Paw Paw Museum, Port Deposit Heritage’s historical museum.
The postcard above, shared by the Paw Paw Museum shows the Tome mansion, Hytheham, across the street from the original school. A paper in the museum’s Jacob Tome file quotes an unnamed newspaper’s description of the home:
“It is three and a half stories high, and rests upon a solid foundation of rock. It is built of dressed granite, quarried in that vicinity, and covered with a mansard roof. On the northwest corner of the main building, and attached to it, stands a tower 22 feet square, built of beautiful cut granite. It extends above the main building, and has, on each floor, a handsome room, furnished with walnut casings. The house throughout is magnificently furnished. Wide halls in the several stories divide the different apartments, and the walls are graced with a variety of paintings.
The ground floor of the building is used for the purpose of a bank, and that of the tower as Mr. Tome’s private office. On the south side is a large grapery and conservatory, on a hill nearby are three reservoirs, from with an abundant supply of water is obtained; and at the southern end of the wharf is a large gas house, built of native granite and containing a receiver with a capacity of thirty-five hundred feet.
In front across the street is a beautiful park, artistically laid off. The grounds and park are adorned with lawns and terraces, shade trees and plants and flowers in rich variety. When seen from the river, the place presents a picturesque appearance, and resembles some palatial residence on the Rhine.”
Another source quoted is Miss Clara Mann, a Tome Institute teacher. It reads:
“As the Hytheham Club was named for Mrs. Tome’s home and she was an interested and active member, I fancy it must have been born in her very beautiful white and gold Louis XV drawing room. I remember vividly how that glittering room with its ornate furnishing and its ceiling painted with dainty colored flowers impressed my unsophisticated eyes. I have seen many royal palaces, world-wide in their fame, since that day, but none gave me such a delicious thrill of delight as that dazzling room. I had never seen anything like it before, but, comparing it with the many far grander that I have seen since, I still think it was a very beautiful example of the ornate type, then in fashion.”
The mansion was torn down in 1948. As you can see by the photos below, massive granite blocks still remain on the site. More photos Tome/Port Deposit photos will follow in my next post.