Marietta House Museum is dedicated to exploring, elevating, and transforming awareness of the interconnected relationships of the people and their descendants who lived and labored at Marietta.
As a public history steward, Marietta is committed to co-curating discussions, exhibitions, and programs with broad community input to promote universal social equity. Marietta interprets the historical architecture and landscape across Prince George's County, Maryland, through inclusive American history.
Marietta House Museum, in Prince George’s County, is a community-driven historic site committed to nurturing social justice advocacy through understanding current social inequities and their historical origins.
Learn the History of the Marietta
Who Lived Here?
About the Property
Marietta House Museum was the tobacco plantation and family home of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Gabriel Duvall in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The two-and-half-story Federal-style brick mansion, completed in 1813, stood in front of a row of outbuildings where multiple generations of enslaved individuals lived, including Thomas and Sarah Butler and their family.
As early as the late seventh century, the lands comprising this site witnessed the enslavement of Africans and African Americans until Emancipation in 1865 when the U.S. Constitution’s Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. Named to honor Gabriel Duvall’s first wife, Mary Bryce Duvall, Marietta included slave dwellings, stables, a carriage house, law office, root cellar, wash house, ash house, and other outbuildings.
Today, Marietta House is situated on 25 acres of lawn and wooded areas with two County Champion trees, a small cemetery, and the original 1811 law office, tack room, and root cellar. The site where the slave quarters likely stood is recognized as hallowed ground.
Who did the Land Originally Belong to?
Marietta House Museum acknowledges the history and continued traditions of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, who hunted, farmed, and lived on this land long before Marietta House was built. As we consider the history of this place, take a moment to remember the many people who were forced to leave their traditional homelands.
Who was Gabriel Duvall?
Marietta was built for Gabriel Duvall, one of Prince George's County's most outstanding citizens. Born in 1752, Duvall pursued a career of public service which lasted for more than 60 years. After serving in several positions during the Revolutionary War, he served in the Maryland House of Delegates, the United States Congress, the Maryland Supreme Court, and as Comptroller of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson. Soon after 1812, when he was appointed by President James Madison to the U.S. Supreme Court, Duvall began the construction of Marietta. Over the next 20 years, he developed the 325-acre plantation and constructed a substantial rear wing for added living space. He served on the Supreme Court until 1835; in January of that year, he retired to spend the rest of his life at Marietta, where he died in 1844. Marietta remained the residence of his heirs until 1902.
The Society of Mareen Duvall Descendants have relocated the family graveyard from its original location to the property at Marietta.
General Information About the Property and Museum
Marietta is a 2 1⁄2-story brick Federal house, begun in 1813, in a traditional I-house plan and is an example of a late Federal-style brick house. The main block is five bays by two, and the entrance is through the central bay of the south facade. Attached to the north of the main block at right angles is a two-story rear wing, built 1832, and attached to the west gable end is an L-shaped wing added in 1968. Marietta stands on terraced, landscaped grounds with two contemporary outbuildings: a brick law office and a stone and brick root cellar/harness storage room.
Marietta is open to the public as a Prince George's County history museum and offers exhibits, lectures, events, and programs covering 300 years of county history. Marietta is also home to the Natural and Historical Resources Division Library of County History.