Blenheim was the country home of Richard Lee (Squire), a notable figure in Colonial Maryland. Richard’s father Phillip Lee (1681-1744) likely began the home. Phillip Lee served in a variety of important roles in colonial Maryland. Among them, the Governor’s Council and naval officer for the north shore of the Potomac River. The latter office brought him to the future Blenheim site near Cedar Point. Richard continued the construction of Blenheim after his father died and assumed many of his father ‘s roles including that of naval officer. Squire Lee faithfully served Maryland until the end of the colonial period when his continued loyalty to Great Britain forced him to step aside. He continued living at Blenheim until his death in 1787.
Tax records for 1783 describe Blenheim as a “famous large brick dwelling house, garden and sundry others houses all very good.” A 1791 Orphans Court record describes it as a large brick house having a brick stable and coach house, a brick dairy, a brick greenhouse, and a garden walled in with brick. Another account highlights the red Flemish bond brick, stained glass windows, marble and slate flooring, and a cupola. Family and visitors could ascend to the roof and view the surrounding area through Squire Lee’s prized telescope. In 1798 the house was evaluated $4000, more than twice the evaluation of other homes in the county. The Lee’s of Blenheim were famous for their hospitality and Blenheim was a must stop for travelers crossing the Potomac on the ferries just three miles to the south. One traveler in the spring of 1775 reported a ditch and low mud wall topped by stakes and woven cedar branches at Blenheim. This was the remains of an ill-conceived, private jail constructed circa 1768 by Squire Lee’s son, Richard, during his abortive tenure as sheriff.
As the new nation entered a new century, Blenheim entered a time of decay and abandonment. It was finally destroyed by Union Forces occupying Maryland during the Civil War. An 1899 book entitled Grandma’s Stories and Anecdotes of “Ye Olden Times” tells the story of Blenheim’s last days. All the beautiful bricks were carried off to build other things, sold to people for mementos, or given to the former enslaved people who had served the Union Forces occupying the County. The story concludes “Such a dilapidation and such destruction of an old historic residence can but call forth the exclamation: “Sic transit gloria mundi.” (Such passes the glory of the world) Oil on Canvas 24X36 inches