Sotterley Plantation, a National Historic Landmark on the Patuxent River in St. Mary's County, is one of the oldest museums of its kind in the United States. Sotterley is the only Tidewater plantation in Maryland open to the public, with original and restored buildings on its nearly 100 beautiful acres. Sotterley's first owner purchased the property in 1699, and it was to become one of the largest tobacco plantations in the Chesapeake Tidewater region. The plantation's location on the Patuxent River made it desirable for shipping and trade but also made it vulnerable during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Sotterley Plantation declined with the end of the Civil War and slavery but was revived in the early 20th century. Life and culture at Sotterley Plantation was greatly shaped by both owners and workers. Family-owned for its entire significant history, Sotterley Plantation was opened to the public in 1961. Today, Sotterley Plantation is a destination for visitors looking to be reminded of a bygone era.