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c. 1787; c. 1810. 2026 Level Rd.
  • (Photograph by James Rosenthal, HABS)
  • (Photograph by James Rosenthal, HABS)
  • (Maryland Historical Trust)
  • (Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie)

This is among the first and most elaborate country seats in Harford County, majestically situated with commanding views of Havre de Grace and the Susquehanna River. It was built by English scholar John Ireland, who operated an academy for boys in the west wing. The next owner, merchant Gideon Denison, added terraced formal boxwood gardens. His daughter Minerva and her husband, Commodore John Rodgers, took up residence in 1806, adding the high-style interior woodwork. The symmetrical, three-part, classically inspired brick villa comprises a five-bay main block flanked by slope-roof wings that, while not common, appear in Isaac Ware’s Complete Body of Architecture (1756). The interior encompasses private family rooms to the west of a central hall with formal rooms for entertaining to the east; referred to as the “winter” and “summer” dining rooms, they speak to the hospitality offered at Sion Hill. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1990 for its association with Commodore Rodgers, known as the Father of the U.S. Navy, and six generations of his descendants, also distinguished naval officers.


Weeks, Christopher. An Architectural History of Harford County, Maryland. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

Weeks, Christopher, “Sion Hill,” Harford County, Maryland. National Register Nomination Form, 1991. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie



  • 1786

  • 1810

    Interior woodwork
  • 1990

    Designated National Historic Landmark

What's Nearby


Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "SION HILL", [Havre de Grace, Maryland], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Maryland, Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022, 281-282.

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