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Multi-Million Dollar Clifton Mansion Project To Restore Hopkins' Former Home

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It's a mansion with two centuries of Baltimore history and famous residents. The Clifton Mansion is in the middle of a months-long restoration.

As Gigi Barnett reports, the agency behind the renovation plans to celebrate the historic home this weekend.

Built in 1801, the Clifton Mansion boasts a black walnut stairwell, ornate crown molding and, not one, but two dining rooms.

They don't make mansions like Clifton nowadays.

"The 3x12 hardwood pine joist that hold up the floors, those are things that you just can't get anymore," said John Ciekot, project manager.

Just the reason why its current occupant -- Civic Works, a non-profit group -- is restoring the historic mansion.

It's a multi-million dollar project that started back in January and tries to stay true to the original.

"If you can point to something and say, 'this is exactly the way it looked 200 years ago.' That means more than saying, 'well, we put up something that serves the function of today,'" Ciekot said.

War of 1812 captain and successful businessman Henry Thompson built Clifton. Then in 1840, Johns Hopkins bought it and turned it into an Italian villa.

Ciekot heads up the restoration. He says past owners would want visitors to see Clifton's history. Not her age.

"I'm sure that they'd be surprised at the changes, but they would recognize an awful lot. They would say, 'this is still here?'" Ciekot said.

This weekend, Civic Works, is looking for more visitors to see progress. It's hosting "A Day At Clifton" to commemorate the home's 200 years of service and food.

"The whole movement of taking locally sourced food and turning it into something fabulous, we can learn a lot from these people in 1812," said Irene Smith, chef/owner of Women's Industrial Kitchen.

By the fall of next year, the first phase of the mansion's renovation will be complete. It's a $7 million project. And then, after that, the second phase begins--a $3 million project that restores the mansion's artwork.

Civic Works is still looking for donations to complete the Clifton Mansion restoration.

If you'd like to attend Saturday's "Day At Clifton," click here for more information.

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