Hugg Mansion Destroyed

July 27, 1933

Fire Razes Thirty-four-Room Building Across Patapsco Saturday Night – Little of Contents Saved – Ellicott City Make Quick Run

One of the old landmarks of this neighborhood was destroyed on Saturday night when fire razed the large residence known as the Hugg Mansion, situated in Howard County, just over the bridge. The town was filled with Saturday night shoppers when the blaze, which was of unknown origin, broke out about 9.30, and in a short time, a crowd estimated to have been between 500 and 1000 people were on hand.

The Ellicott City Fire Department was summoned and worked on the flames until about four o’clock Sunday morning, but the structure was doomed. Sparks flew for some distance but as there was no wind, no damage was done to other property. The house was empty save for a few rooms, which were occupied by Mrs. A. J. Donaldson and her son, whose home, not far from the Mansion, was burned to the ground a little over a year ago. All day Sunday visitors flocked to the scene to view the ruins of the picturesque old place.

The older residents of Sykesville estimate the Mansion to have been at least 100 years old. It was occupied at one time by James Sykes, who operated a number of cotton mills in the vicinity, and for whom Sykesville was named. At this time Sykesville was considered one of the most flourishing towns between Baltimore and Frederick. It boasted a large hotel of 47 rooms on the other side of the river, which was washed away during the big flood, and the old Mansion, with its surrounding 297 acres of ground, was quite a show place.

Following the removal of Mr. Sykes, a tobacco merchant by the name of Morehead resided there, and he was followed by the Hugg family, said to have consisted of two brothers and two sisters. They remodeled the home, which was originally a stone structure. On the death of the Hugg family, instructions were left that the residence should be turned into an orphanage but as there were not sufficient funds, the plans were never carried out, and the property has been in charge of William E. Thomas, a lawyer of Baltimore, who is a nephew of the Huggs.

It is said that the old residence contained a number of valuable antiques at the time of the fire, but this could not be verified. Only a few pieces of furniture were saved.

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