Belmont History

Belmont's Manor House was once part of the vast land holdings of Lord Fairfax, and is located at the heart of the community. The Manor Home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in the 1790s by Ludwell Lee, son of Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The name Belmont means “beautiful mountain” in French. Over looking the 1,000 acre plantation, the manor house is the crown jewel of this magnificent place. It is situated on the highest point of the property, and when you look out at the stunning views, you can almost see life as it was in the 1800s.

One of the most exemplary expressions of Federal-style plantation architecture in the Middle Atlantic region, Belmont Manor House was built between 1799 and 1802. The builder, Ludwell Lee, was the son of Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; and an aide-de-camp to General Lafayette. Often a center of lavish entertaining, the Belmont Manor House hosted many distinguished guests, including Presidents John Quincy Adams and James Madison.

In 1836, the plantation was purchased by Margaret Mercer, daughter of former Maryland Governor. Miss Mercer established the home as a school for girls and built Belmont Chapel, renowned as a place of spiritual enlightenment and “the place” for weddings.

Other notable owners include Mr. & Mrs. Edward B. McLean. Mr. McLean was the son of the owner and publisher of the Washington Post; Mrs. McLean once owned the Hope Diamond.  It was Mr. McLean who brought foxhunting, thoroughbred racing, and other spectator events to the Belmont Manor House.