Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
maryland house and garden pilgimage
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10 am to 5 pm


Special Project: Working in concert with the Queen Anne’s County Historical Society, a portion of the proceeds will be used as a matching grant to repair damage (sustained in the hurricane Isabel) to Tucker House.   Tucker House was one of the first homes in Centreville and dates to 1792. 


 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 “Good Queen Anne” of England gave her name to this county established in 1706. Its 350 square miles have a vast waterfront, but few hills.  It was first settled between 1628 and 1631 under the leadership of the colorful William Claiborne, “a gentlemen adventurer” from England.  This area was later granted to Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore.  Life was complicated by attacks of the Indians:  Tockwoghs, Wicomeses and Matapeakes.  Early settlers established Kent Island Parish, later known as Christ Church Parish and said to be the cradle of the Anglican faith in Maryland.  In time, new parishes were organized and of seven large brick churches, only Wye Church and St. Luke’s survive.  At the beginning of the Revolution, Queen Anne’s was one of the most prosperous counties in the state.  It not only contributed men and supplies to the patriot cause, but also furnished some of the most distinguished patriots.  One was William Paca, the eminent statesman and signer of the Declaration of Independence, who maintained a country home at Wye Plantation in addition to his Annapolis home.  A statement of American rights and the proposal of the formation of an “Association for breaking off all commercial connection with Great Britain until the said Act of Parliament be repealed” was written at Queenstown, the county seat, on May 13, 1774.  Then on July 16 the Maryland Gazette stated, “A vessel has sailed from the Eastern Shore of the Province with a cargo of provisions as a free gift to our besieged brethren of Boston.”  A company of Queen Anne’s minutemen under a Captain Dean was ordered to Philadelphia and joined General Smallwood’s Marylanders in the New York battles under George Washington.  


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

ROUTES FROM BALTIMORE: Baltimore Beltway 695 to Rt. 97 to US 50/301.  East across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Take 301 North at the split and left at Main St./Rt. 18-Queenstown.  Follow Main St. to site #1:  Queenstown Historic Courthouse, 100 Del Rhodes Ave., Queenstown, MD  21658. Parking along road and across the street at the town office.

ROUTES FROM WASHINGTON: Baltimore Beltway 695 to Rt. 97 to US 50/301.  East across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Take 301 North at the split ¼ mile and left at Main St./Rt. 18-Queenstown.  Follow Main St. to site #1:  Queenstown Historic Courthouse, 100 Del Rhodes Ave., Queenstown, MD  21658.  Parking along road and across the street at the town office.

ROUTES FROM EASTERN SHORE:  Take 301 North at the split ¼ mile and left at Main St./Rt. 18-Queenstown.  Follow Main St. to site #1:  Queenstown Historic Courthouse, 100 Del Rhodes Ave., Queenstown, MD  21658.  Parking along road and across the street at the town office. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ LUNCH ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chicken Salad “Box Lunch” for $12.00 (seated or carry out) will be available at St. Paul’s Church, 301 S. Liberty Street (site # 8) from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Advance reservations are recommended for groups to confirm availability . 
For information please contact Jean Hilleary at 410-758-1858.




The frame section of the structure dates to c. 1708 and is consistent with other Maryland courthouses in size, character and materials.  The brick section was added c. 1820-40.  Laws in the 18th century mostly were enforced by fines, but records show that more serious punishments were given.  In 1718, a whipping post was erected at Queenstown.  Records reveal that a Katharine Langton received 20 lashes, and others occasionally were subjected to time in the stocks, branding, or execution by hanging in Gallows Field, south of the courthouse.  In 1782, when the county seat was moved to Centreville, the building was adapted to various uses.  In 1977, the Town purchased the building and a citizen-government coalition restored the frame section to its original appearance.  The brick addition was renovated to accommodate offices for the Board of Town Commissioners. 



This house was built in 1907 by George Lane on land that was once part of the Bowlingly estate.  Mr. Lane built several homes in Queenstown before building this home.  He became enamored with the design of Monticello and Thomas Jefferson’s fascination with natural light.  He designed this house with multiple four sided window spaces and curved architectural details.  The house was occupied by Dr. R. Ford and functioned as both a medical office and veterinarian facility.  Dr. Ford owned the first automobile in Queenstown but made most of his vet calls using horse and carriage.  He sold the home in 1914 to the Reynolds/Callahan family.  The house remained in the Reynolds family for 72 years until the current owners bought it in 1986 and began its restoration.  The front garden is a multi-seasonal display of bulbs and native plants. 



Reed Creek Farm is situated on a peninsula that bears the name of the family who patented the land in 1685 – Wright’s Neck. The brick Georgian manor house, symmetrical and stately, was built by Colonel Thomas Wright, in 1775.  A section of the house may have been built as early as 1755.  Colonel Wright was Commandant of a regiment for Queen Anne’s County in 1776, a member of the Committee of Correspondence in 1774, and a signer of The Association of Freemen of Maryland in 1775.  Because of the press of these obligations, he found his wealth seriously depleted.  Some of the interior of the house was still unfinished when sold by the Wright family to Mr. and Mrs. Bradford Smith in 1961.  The Smith family restored the house and installed modern conveniences.  An 18th century acoustical ceiling was discovered above the first floor ballroom.  The ballroom, a perfectly scaled architectural gem, is considered by some to be the most beautiful room in the county.  In the smaller room across the book-lined hall, is the historic remains of an over-mantel painting on wood signed W. Clarke, July 30, 1793 depicting Rinaldo and Armida.  The grand hallway runs through the house and affords a view of the Chester River across the fields.  High ceilings with heavy cornices and broken pediments over doorways are ornamentation of the finest quality. In the brick floored kitchen, the fireplace spans over 8 feet, and the original crane is still intact.  The garden, wall and terrace were designed by Barbara Paca, whose ancestor collaborated with Colonel Thomas Wright. 




Located on the high south bank at the head of the Corsica River, the property comprises twelve acres with a Colonial and Georgian style farmhouse and guest cottage.  The house was rescued from destruction, moved to its present site and faithfully restored by the late William Willis of Centreville in 1947.  The frame building, probably built in the mid-1700’s, was lifted and moved here from its original site at the top of Greenspring Creek near Perry’s Corner on Bennett Point Road.  In 1803, the house and 323 acres were sold by Charles Sayer Blake III to William Bryan.  It became known as “Old Bryan Farm”.  This house is notable because of its wooden frame and cladding.  The framing appears to be of poplar and is hand hewn and pit sawn, fastened with wooden pegs.  The house is covered with traditional random width beaded weatherboards cut of local pine, with a wood shingle roof.  The original paneling is of clear pine and remains largely undisturbed.  The house has been lovingly restored and maintained to preserve its original character, with additions only as necessary to afford modern amenity.  The guest cottage is constructed in character with the main house using materials from an eighteenth century public house originally located on the Western Shore.  The interior of this building features pit sawn ceiling beams measuring 4 x 20 inches x 25 feet long.  The contoured grounds of the River House contain over 1000 trees, including many native specimen trees, one of which is the largest river birch (Betula Nigra) in Maryland.  The gardens have been developed using predominantly native perennials.  They include two formal gardens – a small entrance garden and a traditional herb garden beyond the kitchen.  The other gardens are naturalized perennial gardens designed to be minimum care. A feature of the grounds is the archway and pergola leading to the pool area.  The waterfront on the riverside has been stabilized by creation of a “living shoreline” shown as a model by state and local authorities. 



The town pharmacist built this three story American foursquare in 1911 as a single-family house.  The original carriage house was constructed from his old pharmaceutical crates.  During World War II, the family converted the house into two apartments to enable their daughter to live upstairs with her children while her husband was away at war.  It remained two apartments for years and subsequently sustained many years of tenant damage and lack of maintenance.  In 1998, the Frank family bought the home and began the slow and painful task of cleaning, restoring, and renovating the home back to one dwelling.  Over the past 15 years the house has seen many changes.  The most noticeable change is the new two-car garage with mother-in-law apartment above.  The family continues to work on the home while raising three daughters. 



This 1794 house has a backyard garden featuring espaliered fruit trees, a fish pond, informal perennial gardens, a vegetable garden, a rose garden, and some plants not usually seen in town.  You will find illicuium, gardenias, stewartia, acer gmseum, heptacodulm, edgeworthia, aesculus (carnea and paula) and an evergreen dogwood and others.



St. Paul’s Parish observed its 300th anniversary in 1992, celebrating its official establishment as a parish by the Vestry Act of 1692.  The original parish church was known as “Chester Church” and was built between 1640 and 1660 outside the present town of Centreville.  The parish originally covered most of present day Queen Anne’s county, all of Caroline county, and part of Talbot County.  Wye Parish, St. Luke’s Park in Church Hill, and St. Paul’s in Hillsborough were once chapels of St. Paul’s.  The second church building on the same site began construction in 1697 and the vestry built a much larger church a third time after the Revolutionary War patterned after St. Paul’s in Philadelphia.  In 1794, the town of Centreville was established, leaving the church across the river from its parishioners.  In 1834, some of the ancient bricks of the Old Chester Church were removed and placed in the new building erected on the present site in Centreville.  The church was extended in 1855 and again in 1892 to reflect the shape of the cross and stands today as the fourth building to serve the congregation of St. Paul’s Parish.



The Roberts House was built in 1918 on land that was originally part of the Holton property.  The garden is punctuated with architectural accents, including period cast iron pieces.  Inside is a newly renovated kitchen with a collection of early samplers dating from 1730 to 1859 along with artwork and several collections the owners have enjoyed.  The Roby’s are the third owners of the property.  All of the original woodwork remains intact and the original carriage house still stands. 



Constructed in 1824 by Daniel Newman, Holton House is one of the few surviving houses in Centreville dating to the period 1815-1830.  Boxwoods over 100 years old stand amidst a new garden pergola graced with white wisteria.  A viburnum and dogwood border defines the property edge.  The enchanted garden with pond and swimming pool host a variety of shade loving plantings designed by the homeowners.  The original carriage house is still in use today.



Tucker House is one of the first homes built in the Town of Centreville and is headquarters to the Queen Anne’s County Historical Society.  James Kennard built the home between 1792, when he purchased the lot from Elizabeth Nicholson, and May of 1794 when a tax assessment noted the property was improved with a value of $886.67.  The original “double pile” plan consisted of two rooms, one behind the other, with a shared chimney on the north side.  The combination of the “double pile” plan and gambrel roof is relatively unusual on the Eastern Shore, with only two other recorded examples in the County.  The gardens feature popular colonial bulbs, perennials, and roses, as well as a meat house, which was designed by the Queen Anne’s County Garden Club.  The last private owner of Tucker House, Mrs. Clarence Tucker, bequeathed the house to the historical society in 1968.  



Wright’s Chance  is an excellent example of an Eastern Shore manor house.  Built in 1744, the fivebay façade and center passage plan are combined with a gambrel roof.  The interior is notable for exceptionally fine paneled fireplace walls in the principal rooms on both floors.  The handsome open-string stair, the unusual feather-edge paneled partitions on the second story, and the generous proportions of the second story stair passage show that this was among the finer frame houses of its period.  In 1964, the Queen Anne’s County Historical Society rescued Wright’s Chance and moved it six miles from its original setting south of Hope Road to the grounds of the Goldsborough property where the house hosts school tours, teas, meetings, and society events.  In its dining room is a renowned Baltimore sideboard c. 1790.  The smokehouse on the property is currently being renovated, and the serene grounds include a restored gas lamplight and sundial.  

Courthouse - photo courtesy MD Manual Online


The Queen Anne’s County Court House was constructed at the time when the county seat was removed from Queenstown to Centreville.   The Court House (and the town of Centreville, which was built simultaneously) was erected on a plantation known as “Chesterfield,” the ancestral home of Judge Joseph Hopper Nicholson, who was then living on the tract.  Later, Judge Nicholson became Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit and he was also the member of the U.S. House of Representatives who, painfully ill, was carried into Congress to cast the deciding vote for Thomas Jefferson in his battle with Aaron Burr over the presidency.    The Court House remained in its original state until after the Civil War.  In 1876, plans were made to rebuild that structure “on a scale which will change it from one of the most inconvenient to one of the most desirable of our county buildings.”  Aside from this reconstruction, which was accomplished for $6,800, the exterior of the Court House is virtually the same as it was when originally constructed.  An interesting (and often overlooked) feature is the gold eagle that appears in the pediment of the main portion of the building. 




Anne Arundel County | Queen Anne County | Baltimore City (Guilford) 
Somerset & Worcester Counties | Charles County

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