Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
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Queen Anne’s County

Saturday, April 30, 2016
10 am to 5 pm

Special Project:  Queen Anne’s County Garden Club has selected The James E. Kirwan Museum (circa 1889), Chester, MD as its Pilgrimage Project for 2016. James Kirwan (1848-1938) led a full and colorful life starting at age 10 on the Chesapeake Bay as a cook and cabin boy. By the age of 16 he was a master of 110’ schooner “William Baynes;” then became a department commander in the oyster navy. After he married in 1867, he left the Bay and settled on Kent Island as a merchant and farmer with his wife and three children. His business enterprises included a lumber mill, a coal business, a cooper’s mill, a blacksmith shop, and a brickmaking kiln, all located on the property. Mr. Kirwan operated a 300-acre farm, served on the Board of Centreville National Bank for 40 years, and was elected to the State Senate as a Democrat 1900, serving until 1908. He is most noted for the general store he ran, which is attached to his home. This store became the hub of local activity for Kent Island residents for 65 years. The “Grand Old Man of Kent Island” led a delegation to Washington to protest the building of a training base on Kent Island. He was successful in that effort, and that training base was later established at Aberdeen, becoming Aberdeen Proving Ground. Today, the house, attached general store, and many outbuildings still exist on the original site. The museum was donated to the Kent Island Heritage Society in 1994 by the granddaughter of James Kirwan. The museum is a treasure trove of Queen Anne’s County artifacts, from the period 1890-1920; sixty percent of which is original to the house and store. Kirwan House experienced quite a bit of water damage as a result of Super Storm Sandy and, while the external damage has been repaired, the interior is in desperate need of restoration. The plaster restoration, painting and wallpaper in the hall and parlor are particularly in bad repair. The lightning rods are a Victorian symbol that needs to be reinstalled. The shutters need repair, painting, and to be placed back on the house. The house needs the storm windows to be replaced for energy efficiency.

This property is an important historic landmark in the county; a valuable peek into one man’s rich and full life here on the Eastern Shore.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~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. Kent Island is the oldest community in Maryland and one of the oldest in the country. It was first settled between 1628 and 1631 under the leadership of the colorful William Claborne, “a Gentleman adventurer” from England. This area was later granted to Lord Baltimore. Life was complicated by attacks of 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, Wye Church and St. Like’s survive. The land proved excellent for raising tobacco, wheat, corn and fruit. Seafood was plentiful. Sailing ships soon plied their way to and from the markets. Life on the large manors took on the flavor of old England. At the beginning of the Revolution, Queen Anne’s was one of the most prosperous counties in the colony. 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 beautiful country home on Wye Island in addition to his home in Annapolis. 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 repeated” 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. Much has happened in Queen Anne’s County since 1774. Today’s tour reflects the fact that the very old and the very new can live together in harmony, each serving both function and beauty in this area of “vast waterfront but few hills.” 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Wilmington and North: Take I-95 to DE 1 S. Exit 136 to DE 299 (Middletown). Right on 299 thru Middletown to US301, left on 301 S for 44 mi. to exit 45B, Nesbitt Rd. Left at end of ramp and Left again onto Nesbitt Rd.

Turn Left onto Rt. 18 (.3 mi); R onto Bennet Pt. Rd. (1.0 mi); L onto Governors Way (.2mi.); to 110 Ziegler Way. Site #1, Talents Cove, (110 Ziegler) is on right.

Easton and South: Take US 50 W to exit 45B, Nesbitt Road. L at end of ramp and L again onto Nesbitt Road. L onto Rt.18; proceed as above.

From Washington: East on Route 50/301 across Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Take exit 45B, Nesbitt Road. R onto Nesbitt Road, then L onto Rt.18; proceed as above.

Baltimore and the Bay Bridge: I-695 to I-97 S to Annapolis/ Chesapeake Bay Bridge. E on US 50/301 across the Bay Bridge to exit 45B,Nesbitt Road. R onto Nesbitt Road, then L onto Rt.18; proceed as above.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ LUNCH ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lunch: A box lunch of chicken salad sandwich, fruit, cookie, chips and a cold drink may be purchased for $12.00 at St. Paul’s Church, 301 S. Liberty St., Centreville, MD 21617. Advance reservations and payment for groups is requested. Please contact Luncheon Chairman, Arline Mayer, at (410)-758-0173; or by e-mail at Restrooms are available at this location



Talents Cove, 110 Zielger, Queenstown 21658

Red brick Georgian home built in 1996, on the historic property formally called Wye River Farm, the homestead of Governor William Grason from 1814-1868. William Grason was the first publicly elected governor of Maryland, serving from 1839-1842, after which he returned to this farm until his death in 1868. The property is located on the east side of the Wye River in a cove that was also once inhabited by Native Americans. Numerous grand trees remain from the time of William Grason. A champion Swamp Oak graces the front entrance, as well as Sycamore, Pecan, Beech and Red Oak specimens around the property As you enter the lane on the right is the original carriage house that has now been restored to a modern residence. Governor Grason is buried on the left of the property near the water. The current owners have a keen interest in the environment, native plants and bay wise practices, as well as sustainable gardening. There is a garden house, compost structures, raised vegetable beds, fruit bearing bushes and a small greenhouse in the kitchen garden. When the Walters moved to Talents Cove in 2012, they started replacing most of the plantings with a strong leaning toward native trees, shrubs and perennials. Extensive clearing of noxious vines and understory in a wooded area exposed a marshy inlet that has been turned into a woodland garden and pathway. In the spring, there is a large variety of daffodil, tulip and ephemerals throughout the property, as well as iris, peonies and flowering trees. In the summer months, you will find many hydrangeas, perennials and herbs in the herb and butterfly garden. Owners: Michael and April Walter


Bowlingly, 111 Bowlingly Circle, Queenstown 21658, is significant for both architecture and historical associations. It is among the earliest dated structures in the central Eastern Shore, and its scale and size are indicative of the significance of the house at the time of its construction. Bowlingly was patented to James Bowlingly by Lord Baltimore in 1658 and built by Ernault Hawkins in 1733, which date is clearly marked in glazed headers and in the Flemish-bond masonry of the south wall. During the War of 1812, the British attacked here and vandalized the house and woodwork. An “antler” staircase replaced the original straight steps when the house was “rebuilt” in 1820. The estate inventory of 1798 describes the original five room House and north wing as being an unusual 100 foot long. The house has been renovated several times and today includes features associated with at least five different periods of construction. Owners: Sean and Kellee Glass.



St. Paul’s Church, 301 S. Liberty Street, Centreville MD 21617. The cornerstone of the present building was laid in May, 1834. Parish records report “In the spring of that year, old Chester Church on Rt. 18 – one mile south of the “new” town of Centreville was torn down, within the walls of which was discovered the foundation of a much smaller structure. Some of the bricks were purposely removed and inserted in the walls of the present church.” History of the Thomas Hynson Wright family says ‘all the timbers of the old church came from the Rich Point fields of Reed’s Creek Farm. This fourth “St. Paul’s” was a simple rectangle, 50x35, now the nave of the present church. In 1855, the church was extended, the transepts added and galleries built above the front door. In 1888, the first stained glass window was dedicated, a memorial to James T. Earle, chair of the building committee. In 1892, the chancel was deepened, the curved apse added, galleries and box pews removed and the present wood ceiling added. The holy table was replaced by a Caen stone altar, a memorial to the first Bishop of the Diocese, Henry C. Lay. In 1980, the Tudor style Donaldson Hall was built, including an auditorium, a kitchen with electricity and modern conveniences. In 2009, offices, classrooms, an enlarged Donaldson Hall, modern baths, and elevator and geothermal heating and air conditioning were added and most of the stained glass windows repaired, including the Tiffany windows over the altar and several pre civil war windows.

The buildings are used daily; and Sunday services held at 8 and 10. Restrooms are available at this location and lunch may be purchased for $12.00. Advance reservations and payment for groups requested – Arline Mayer, 120 Ft. Point Rd., Centreville, MD 21617, (410)-758-0173.


St. Paul’s Church Rectory, 302 S. Liberty Street, Centreville, MD 21617, was built across from the church on Liberty St. in 1892. This property originally housed another home that was removed, turned around and placed on the other side of Liberty St. south of the church. The new rectory once had a large cupola but it was damaged and removed as a result of a kitchen chimney fire that occurred during the residency of Reverend Donaldson and his family from 1939 to 1957. There once were stables towards the rear of the home and especially during WWII there was a large kitchen garden, aka “Victory Garden,” which extended to the cemetery. At least two of Rev. Hargett’s daughters held their reception in this terraced garden.


Wye River Upper School, 316 S. Commerce St. Centreville, 21617, Opened in 1926, The Centreville Armory was home to the Maryland Army National Guard’s Company K, 115th Infantry (1st Maryland). Citizen-soldiers belonging to Company K, part of the famed 29th Infantry Division, participated on D-Day, June 6, 1944, in an unparalleled amphibious invasion at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. In the mid-1920’s, each county in the State of Maryland was given $50,000 to construct their local armory. A $5,000 donation from De Courcy Wright Thom allowed the builders of the Centreville Armory to add the stage. Mr. Thom’s vision was that the Armory would also be a community center for Centreville. For years the building was used as a training facility for the National Guard and also hosted various community events including: dances, graduation ceremonies, and business meetings. The vision of De Courcy Wright Thom continues today through a restored Wye River Upper School. Wye River Upper School serves students with learning differences such as ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s and dyslexia. The school provides students with resources and specialized education that helps prepare them for college, career and life. The building with its rich history now includes classrooms, complete with new technology, standing desks, student artwork, and projects completed in a variety of subject areas. As you tour the building, you will see the 90 restored original windows, the repointed brick work and the original gymnasium, the replicated “ticket window” where soldiers received their pay and was also used for tickets to dances; the once-garage that now offers wonderful light as the art studio, complete with the original Galley Sink. You will experience The Kudner Music Suite that is located where the shooting range once stood. And, you will enjoy the view of The August and Gloria Aull Stage for the Performing Arts from the balcony where the officers once reviewed the dress parades.

This project is funded in part by the Maryland Sustainable CommunitiesRehabilitation Tax Credit Program of the Maryland Historic Trust


401 Chesterfield Avenue, Centreville, 21617, Located on a serene, tree-lined street that was once a speedway for racing horses and buggies, is this lovely Folk Victorian home built in 1901. It is located a few hundred yards from the beautiful Corsica River, which once served as a major shipping port for Centreville. True to its Victorian lineage, this 3-story home is wrapped almost completely with breezy porches, has its original pine wood floors, furnished with a blend of antiques, family heirlooms, newer traditional pieces and charming period details throughout. A pathway winds through an enclosed garden retreat with groupings of evergreen trees and complementing lush perennial foliage on to a patio dining area reflecting a traditional English garden. Owners: Christopher and Lucy Marks.


WHARF HOUSE, 510 Chesterfield Ave., Centreville, 21617, also known as Dockery’s Lott, was constructed in 1771 by William Hopper, a prominent figure in Queen Anne’s County throughout the latter part of the 18th century. The 3-story house was constructed on a 100 acre parcel of land purchased in 1758 from Mathew Dockery and overlooks the headwaters of the Corsica River and Centreville Landing, the center of maritime commerce on the Corsica Creek for over 200 years.  Built 25 years prior to the establishment of Centreville, the primary focus of economic activity in this area at the time was the tobacco inspection warehouse located a short distance from the house, where William Hopper served as the “counter of tobacco” for many years. The social importance of Hopper is clearly expressed in the architectural detailing of the house. In size alone, it was one of the largest houses in this part of the county and displays some of the finest brickwork and interior woodwork in the county.  The gable walls of both the first floor parlors were fully paneled, and a handsome open string stair rises to the third floor in the center hall.  Although some of the paneling was removed early in the 20th century, the stairway, a superb interior cornice, original flooring, and unusual fretwork window architraves have survived in place.  Other notable original details include six working fireplaces, the rusticated exterior window lintels, and the handsome pedimented entrance door surround.  The two story frame wing contains the original detached, one room summer kitchen with cooking fireplace, which was incorporated into the expansion of this wing prior to 1798, when a hall joining the main house and a second floor bedroom were added. The stone meat house also dates from 1771. A major restoration of the house took place in 1999 – 2000 while painstakingly retaining the historical elements and character of the home. The grounds are enhanced by extensive plantings and many large trees, including the Maryland State Champion Osage Orange tree.


Possum Point Farm, 220 Possum Point Farm Ln, Centreville, 21617 an elegant waterfront estate on the Corsica River, was originally built in the late 1700’s. Destroyed by the British in the War of 1812; it was restored in 1940 and again in 1965. The Evans family has continued restoration to make Possum Point Farm one of the truly magnificent sites on the Eastern Shore. This 16 room, 10 bath home has 5 working fireplaces, random-width walnut floors and beautiful moldings. Highlights to be seen on Tour include the home’s classic architecture, hand painted wall murals of birds and vines by artist, Lenore Winters; a 90 year old family heirloom grand piano; and hundreds of antique pitchers collected from around the world. From every window, the home provides spectacular views of farmland, waterfront and gardens. John and Paige Evans.


Queen Anne’s County  |  Harford County  |  Talbot County  |  Baltimore County  |  Charles County

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