Friendship House is located on the grounds of the College of Southern Maryland. Built circa 1740 by a member of the Dent family, it is one of the oldest surviving examples of Maryland Tidewater architecture.
The house was originally located on land in Nanjemoy, and the first Dent who occupied the tract was Colonel William Dent. He inherited the property from his father Thomas in 1674. Stories of Colonel Dent and his relatives offer a glimpse into an earlier time.
In addition to serving in the military, William Dent was a lawyer, an elected member of the General Assembly, Attorney General of the Province, and a member of the Privy Council.
Among his passions was the idea of free public education. In fact, in 1694 he contributed 2,000 pounds of tobacco to build free schools. He also served as a trustee for King William’s College, now known as St. John’s College in Annapolis.
It is believed his grandson Warren built Friendship House, which remained in the family until 1752.
Sadly, with a succession of proprietors and tenants, Friendship House had become by 1968 a shadow of the building the Dents knew. Its owners at that time decided to burn it down.
Fortunately, the Historical Society of Charles County then stepped in to salvage the property. They carefully disassembled the house and stored it until 1976 when it was resurrected on the grounds of the College of Southern Maryland—a location particularly appropriate given William Dent’s interest in education.
To learn more, visit the house for a tour, cider, cookies, and a closer look at one of Southern Maryland’s historic treasures.