Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
maryland house and garden pilgimage


10 am to 5 pm

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Special Project: Proceeds from the Pilgrimage will be used for inside repairs on the James Brice House. Built between 1767 and 1773, this house is an extraordinary five-part Georgian mansion described as one of the country’s top ten surviving colonial homes because of its architectural significance by Willie Graham, former Curator of Architecture at Colonial Williamsburg. The quality of its overall plan and construction, the high proportion of its extant original materials, and the refinement of its decorative embellishments combine to make it an exceptional 18th-century building of national importance. James Brice’s surviving ledger book, in which he recorded many details of his home’s construction, provides architectural historians and other restoration professionals with unparalleled insights into the creation of one of the truly great houses of early America. In December 2014, the State of Maryland purchased the James Brice House and selected Historic Annapolis to manage, preserve, and share this national treasure with the public. During the 25-year stewardship of the previous owner, the exterior of the James Brice House was cared for, but the interior had not benefitted from consistent maintenance and conservation work. Because the building has never been opened to the public on a regular basis, certain repairs, system upgrades, and safety issues that have been deferred must now be addressed using a combination of State grants and private matching funds raised by Historic Annapolis. Specific work undertaken by Historic Annapolis will include, but not be limited to: restoring existing bathrooms; updating HVAC systems to ensure proper museum-quality environmental conditions; installing security, accessibility, and safety equipment; replacing aged electrical wiring and apparatus; repairing cracked and peeling walls (including the restoration of original plaster and paint finishes where possible); repairing and protecting historic floors and other woodwork; exterior stabilization of the roof, woodwork, and masonry; and completing historic investigations to document the building’s history and physical condition.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Named in honor of the second Lord Baltimore’s wife, Anne Arundel County was founded in 1650, one year after Europeans first settled in the region. In 1694, Governor Francis Nicholson and the General Assembly decided to move Mary- land’s capital from St. Mary’s City to a small port settlement called Ann Arundel Town on the south side of the Severn River. The following year, the new capital was renamed Annapolis after England’s Princess (later Queen) Anne. Nicholson devised the baroque street plan that still marks Annapolis as a 17th-century city. Colonial Annapolis began to prosper in the 18th century. Maritime tradesmen worked along the waterfront, artisans made and sold goods at their shops, and merchants advertised imports drawn from Britain’s global trade network. George Washington and other wealthy visitors came to enjoy the delights of the annual social season, and some well-to-do families built townhouses so they could partake of the city’s pleasures year-round. Local patriots forged Maryland’s path to- ward revolution in the 1760s and 70s. The city had its own demonstrations against British taxation, its own Liberty Tree, and its own Tea Party. All four Maryland men who signed the Declaration of Independence lived in Annapolis, and all four of their houses still survive. The city’s maritime connections made it an important center for gathering and transporting troops and supplies during the Revolutionary War. At the end of the conflict, Washington returned to Annapolis to resign his commission before Congress, which was then meeting in the State House. Since 1845, when an obsolete Army fort was transformed into a training school for midshipmen, Annapolis and the U.S. Naval Academy have sometimes been used as synonymous terms. The academy’s location made it an ideal site for practical nautical drills, but it also made the campus a key position that had to be secured by Federal troops when the Civil War began in 1861.

Northern soldiers occupied the grounds to keep the state legislature from voting to secede from the Union, and hospitals set up at the Naval Academy and St. John’s College treated military casualties. The redesign and rebuilding of the academy in the 1890s stimulated expansion and modernization of its host city as well. New houses and neighborhoods, paved streets, telephone lines, utility services, and electric trains and trolleys were signs of the changing times at the turn of the 20th century. Annapolis stood at a crossroads in the 1950s, as residents questioned how to harness the power of post-war prosperity for the good of the historic city, which was looking worn-out and run-down. Demolition and redevelopment were one option, but many Annapolitans thought their town could best face the future by valuing its past. Since its start, Annapolis’s historic preservation movement has protected hundreds of buildings in a city recognized as a National Historic Landmark and National Register District.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

ROUTES FROM BALTIMORE: From I-97 S, use the 2 Left lanes to take the exit toward US-50 E/US-301 S toward Annapolis. Take Exit #22, following signs for MD-665 E/Riva Road/Aris T. Allen Blvd. Continue straight to follow MD-665 E for 2 miles. When MD-665 E ends and turns into Forest Drive, continue on Forest Drive for 2.4 miles. Turn Right onto Hillsmere Drive at the Exxon. In 1.3 miles, turn Right onto Carroll Drive at Key School. Parking for Site #1 will be about 365 feet on Left at Key School. A shuttle will take you to Site #1.

ROUTES FROM WASHINGTON: Take US-50 E to Exit #22, following signs for MD-665 E/Riva Road/Aris T. Allen Blvd. Continue straight to follow MD-665 E for 2 miles. When MD-665 E ends and turns into Forest Drive, continue on Forest Drive for 2.4 miles. Turn Right onto Hillsmere Drive at the Exxon. In 1.3 miles, turn Right onto Carroll Drive at Key School. Parking for Site #1 will be about 365 feet on Left at Key School. A shuttle will take you to Site #1.

ROUTES FROM BAY BRIDGE: Take US-50 W to Exit #22, following signs for MD-665 E/Riva Road. Merge Left into the middle lane to continue straight on MD-665 E for 2 miles. When MD-665 E ends and turns into Forest Drive, continue on Forest Drive for 2.4 miles. Turn Right onto Hillsmere Drive at the Exxon. In 1.3 miles, turn Right onto Carroll Drive at Key School. Parking for Site #1 will be about 365 feet on Left at Key School. A shuttle will take you to Site #1.


PARKING NOTE: Sites #2 through #5 are all located in Downtown Annapolis, where parking is limited. It is recommended to park in a public garage and walk between sites #2, #3, #4 and #5. Directions to rec- ommended parking garages are included below in the driving direc- tions.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ LUNCH ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Boxed Lunches are available by prior reservation by April 26, 2017 from either Main & Market or Mission BBQ, to be picked up on the day of the tour. Downtown Annapolis (Sites #2 through #5) also offers a variety of in-restaurant dining options.

Main & Market, 914 Bay Ridge Avenue, Annapolis 21403, is pleased to offer a pre- ordered box lunch to take with you as you tour, available for pickup after 10 a.m. Cost is $15 per lunch. Please pre-order by calling 410-626-0388 by April 26, 2017. Lunch includes your choice of sandwich or wrap (choices offered when you call), fruit, pasta salad, brownie and a drink.

Mission BBQ, 142 Dock Street, Annapolis 21401, is pleased to offer a pre-or- dered box lunch to take with you as you tour, available for pickup after 11 a.m. Cost is $15 per lunch. Please pre-order by calling 443-221-4731 by April 26, 2017. Lunch includes your choice of sandwich, two sides (mac ‘n’ cheese, fries, or beans), brownie and a drink.

If you have questions about the boxed lunch selections, please contact the restaurants directly.


Courtesy of Annapolis Home Magazine


THE COHN RESIDENCE, 117 Indian Road, Annapolis 21403

This modern home, designed by architect Marta Hansen and built in 2013-14, overlooks the South River and a small cove named Lake Hillsmere. Because the roof slopes up from the front to the rear of the building, the house appears much larger on the inside and when looking back at it from the water than it does when first approaching from the street. Clean, straight lines define the overall design, but playful, dramatic curves stand out in a few places: the arched cover over the front door, the serpentine glass block wall just inside the entry, and the piano-inspired rear roof edge. Acoustics were an im- portant design consideration in the great room, where owner Bob Cohn enjoys listening to and playing classical music. While exercis- ing her culinary skills in the kitchen, Sandy Cohn likes keeping an eye on the ever-changing weather and wildlife outside the windows. In addition to the master suite on the main floor, the house also has two guest bedrooms and a versatile space dubbed “Café LL” (for “Lower Level”) on the ground floor. Outside, an herb garden is planted close to the house, while different grasses, perennials, and flowering and fruit trees fill out the waterfront landscape.
Courtesy of Michele Sheiko

Courtesy of Michele Sheiko

ACTON HALL, 1 S. Acton Place, Annapolis 21401

In the 1650s, carpenter Richard Acton was the first colonist to own the land on which Acton Hall now stands. The Georgian mansion was constructed in the early 1770s by John Hammond, brother of the builder of the Hammond-Harwood House. The Duvall and Murray families owned Acton Hall through much of the 19th century, and the Murray Hill neighborhood was carved out of the old Acton land grant in the 1890s. Acton Hall gained new front and rear porches and a south wing a century or more ago, but by the 1970s it was a derelict property. Jack and Joan Bridges bought it in 1978 and spent the next few years renovating the colonial masterpiece. The current owners, Bill and Judi Kardash, purchased the home in 1990. Acton Hall is distinguished by its recessed central bay, projecting side pavilions with pediments, and broad chimneys set parallel to the façade. The entry hall originally met transverse passages to form a “T” in the center of the house, but the floor plan was modified in the 20th cen- tury to enlarge the two front rooms. As in many grand colonial homes, Acton Hall’s public spaces were placed to enjoy views of the garden, which once extended to Spa Creek. The semi-octagonal “salon”—now the living room—has an original jib door, and the den and library feature jib windows that provide access to the 19th-cen- tury porch. The house retains much of its original detailing: raised- panel doors with early hardware, decorative moldings, plaster cornices, and a fine stairway with square balusters and molded handrail. In the early-20th-century wing, the homeowners now enjoy a thoroughly modern kitchen and breakfast room. Live music is pro- vided by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra.



Maryland State House
100 State Circle, Annapolis 21401

As a public building open daily free of charge, the Maryland State House is included in this guidebook as a noteworthy additional site that Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage visitors may wish to tour while in Annapolis. Maryland State Archives staff members and other volunteers will be onsite during Pilgrimage hours. Please see for more information on visiting the State House. The Maryland State House is the third capitol building to stand on this site. The first was destroyed by fire in 1704, and the second was demolished in 1771.

Work on this structure began in 1772 when Robert Eden, colonial Maryland’s last proprietary governor, laid the cornerstone of a grand Georgian edifice designed by Joseph Horatio Anderson. Local entre- preneur Charles Wallace supervised the project that was soon com- plicated and delayed by the disruptions of the Revolutionary War.

The General Assembly first met here in 1779, making the State House the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use. The orig- inal leaky roof and cupola were replaced in the late 1780s by archi- tect and master builder Joseph Clark, who designed a more steeply pitched roof and much loftier dome and cupola. Atop it all was a 28- foot lightning rod stabilized by an ornamental acorn sheathed in cop- per. The original rod is still in place, but the damaged acorn was replaced in 1996. Members of Congress met in the State House for a few months in 1783 and ’84, during which time they accepted Wash- ington’s resignation as commander in chief of American forces and ratified the Treaty of Paris to end the military conflict. The Old Sen- ate Chamber was recently restored to more accurately reflect its ap- pearance during that pivotal period; adjoining rooms have exhibits on the people and events of that era. The Old House of Delegates Chamber has been restored to its late-19th-century Victorian grandeur. Today, Maryland’s two legislative houses meet in chambers located in the 1902-05 addition to the State House. A thick black line in the marble floor marks the transition between the capitol’s 18th- and 20th-century sections. Outside, the grounds within State Circle contain the Old Treasury (1735-37), a 17th-century cannon recovered near St. Mary’s City, statues of Chief Justice of the United States Roger B. Taney and Baron Johann DeKalb, a northern red oak planted in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other points of interest. A statue of Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Thurgood Marshall is located on Lawyers’ Mall just across State Cir- cle from the main entrance to the State House.





201 Prince George Street, Annapolis 21401
The brick front of this three-story, five-bay house hints at its inter- esting architectural history. On the right side, the oldest section of the house was once a two-bay, two-story building with a gable roof, most likely constructed by the Brice family around the turn of the 19th century. Around 1870, a three-bay, three-story edifice was built to the left of the shorter original structure, which was altered by the addition of an upper floor, thereby creating a unified symmetrical façade. Members of the Stockett family owned the home from 1875 to 1984. In the 1950s, Stockett descendant Margaret Hill and her hus- band, Admiral Harry Hill, renovated the house and built a rear addi- tion. The current owners purchased the property, which extends all the way back to East Street, in 1995. The secluded urban garden fea- tures a pond with turtles and koi, and a wide variety of plants, in- cluding willow, Japanese maple, hardy citrus, winter honeysuckle, hydrangeas, and camellias, to name a few.

Jesus Sanchez Photography


JAMES BRICE HOUSE, 42 East Street, Annapolis 21401

This five-part Georgian mansion was built between 1767 and 1773 by James Brice: a lawyer, planter, militia officer, and longtime mem- ber of Maryland’s Executive Council. The central block’s interior is laid out similarly to the nearby house where Brice grew up, with a main stair hall and three adjoining public rooms. The elegant draw- ing room features a plaster cornice and paneling, a carved mantel and overmantel, and interior window shutters. A hidden private stair runs from the parlor up to the second floor, where six chambers flank a transverse passage. The west wing was once a carriage house, and the kitchen was in the east wing. The house stayed in the Brice fam- ily until the 1870s, and in 1911 was bought by the owners of Carvel Hall Hotel. St. John’s College acquired it in 1927 and converted it to faculty apartments. Stanley and Helen Wohl purchased the home in 1953 and returned it to single-family use. In 1979, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen acquired the house (title was later conveyed to the International Masonry Institute) and began using it for office and meeting facilities. Purchased by the State of Maryland in December 2014, the James Brice House is now being restored by Historic Annapolis.


Courtesy of Atria Manresa

ATRIA MANRESA, 85 Manresa Drive, Annapolis 21409

In the early 20th century, religious retreats gained popularity among Catholic men. Seeking to establish a retreat center convenient to Baltimore and Washington, Father Eugene McDonnell bought six acres of overgrown waterfront property from the W. B. & A. Railroad for $640, then acquired fifteen adjacent acres for $12,000. The main building was constructed in 1926 and the chapel in 1930. Later addi- tions accommodated the growing numbers of men coming to “Man- resa on the Severn.” Following the changes instituted by Vatican II, Manresa started welcoming more diverse groups. Women were in- vited for the first time, first in retreats for married couples, and later with all-female groups. Other denominations and community organi- zations booked the site, but attendance eventually declined. Two years after the last retreat in 1993, Ewing Health Services bought the property and converted it to a senior assisted living facility. Atria Senior Living took over management in 1998. The three-story build- ing with 76 residential units is outfitted with accessible ramps, lifts, and elevators. Guests may tour the first-floor main and private din- ing rooms, the central parlor, and the bistro and activity room, which was once the chapel. One of the eight stained glass windows origi- nally in the chapel is now in the main entrance lobby; the other seven were donated to St. Mary’s Parish and installed in St. John Neumann Church. Visitors may also tour Manresa’s grounds by fol- lowing the path to the Stations of the Cross maintained by local churches.


Courtesy of Marta Hansen

TOWER HOUSE, 1401 Sharps Point Road, Annapolis 21409 

Designed by architect/owner Marta Hansen, this striking modern house perched on a narrow spit of land between wetlands and the Chesapeake Bay was finished in June 2016. It has a minimal foot- print but emphasizes verticality to maximize interior space and take advantage of the site’s sweeping views of the natural setting. A cov- ered walk leads from the prefabricated Amish-built garage to the home’s entry. Inside the ground level, the foyer and home office are on the north side of the house, while a great room with kitchen, din- ing, and living spaces comprises the south side. A wraparound porch is just outside the curtain window wall. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases de- fine the interior layout and provide display alcoves for paintings by contemporary artists. The stair tower incorporates a salvaged stained glass church window, a welded metalwork railing inspired by wetland reeds, and light fixtures by a Vermont artisan. Master and guest suites are on the second floor, and the media room is on the third.  The vaulted wooden ceiling of the fourth-floor “man loft” gives the space a nautical feel appropriate to the location of this stunning bayside home.

Anne Arundel County  |  Carroll County  |  Baltimore County/Oella

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