The mansion is getting some face-lifts.

Phase I
The ballroom floor:

Phase II
Repointing the mansion
and Improving the
drainage on the right side.

Phase III
Replacing the windows
and shutters:

The chapel is available for rentals thru the Parks Dept., call 410-396-7900
Due to upcoming construction, the ballroom of the Orianda House will not be available for rentals.
Rentals at Orianda house and the chapel in Leakin Park

More from the Director

Musings on a Cold, Snowy Day in December
(when Rick was snowed in at the mansion by the blizzard of 2009)

Well here I am, still looking out the window of this 153 year old mansion in Leakin Park. I have lived in the Franklintown area all my life, hiked around the woods of the Gwynns Falls Leakin Park, and never have I seen views like this.

I arrived yesterday about 9:45am to check on things and put out emails about the holiday open house. By the time I finished, my tire tracks were gone. I looked around, there were no birds in the holly, no deer picking at the ground, it was just silent falling snow flakes dancing about. Thinking about staying busy, I kept a path swept to the door and kept my van swept off. Why sweeping my van off, seemed silly-there was not to be a fast getaway at all. The funny thing was breaking the cheap plastic orange sherbet colored snow shovel. It was as if the snow said, "Where do you think you're going?"

After a hot cup of tea, I walked to the top of the mansion, up the old spiral staircase. What a view! I could see all the way over to the Celeste Winans chapel, the old Kirk house, the carriage house, the Outward Bound building with its bright red roof, and the honeymoon cottage. Looking off towards the east, I looked down into the valley below the mansion towards the old waterwheel and Franklintown Road. Thinking back to childhood days of sledding down the vast hill behind the mansion, I never thought I would be on the inside looking out! As a child I would always wonder who lived up there-must be nice.

The wind made its speech, blowing down the chimneys. I did find an open window on the 2nd floor-it seemed natural that the wisps of snow had blown onto the sill like it was returning to an old friend. Making my way down to the ballroom, I turned on all the trees and placed a chair in the center of the room. There was the Outward Bound tree, the Carrie Murray tree, the Parks and People tree, the Friends of Gwynns Falls tree, and the labyrinth tree, and in front of the mirror, all in silver and gold, the Orianda house tree, and another tree placed here by the city police department. Flowing out from the front room was Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" on the radio. How perfect! I thought.

With a jolt and a thud on the floor, I realized I had dozed off in the chair-what a rude awaking of face becoming one with the floor! I laughed, shook it off, went outside again and swept a path to the front door like someone was coming, but no one was there, just the wind and the snow at my back. I sat in front of the fireplace in the green room watching the glow of the Christmas lights I had placed there to look like fire, another hot cup of tea in my hands. I thought how many times did someone sit here? 153 years have gone by and I know someone had to have sat in an old chair by this fireplace.

Minutes turned into hours. I sang, wrote some cards, ate, and watched "It's a Wonderful Life" online and drifted off into dreamland. Now, looking out the front window of the green room, I can see daylight and faint blue sky like there was no storm at all. I guess I should sweep a path to the door again.

Rick Smith


Baltimore Police Commissioner Bealefeld with Rick Smith in front of the mansion after the cocktail party before the Outward Bound Cornerstone Dinner on May 6th, 2010.