Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
maryland house and garden pilgimage
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St. Mary's County

375th Anniversary
Saturday, May 2, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Chairman: Cherie Heely, 21652 Joe Hazel Rd. Leonardtown, MD, 20650
Telephone 301.263.3148 or

Information: Cherie Heely: Telephone 301.690.2106 or
Karen Doherty: Telephone 301.904.3437 or

Special Project: St. John’s Site Museum, which opened in September 2008, is a new
Historic St. Mary’s City museum which showcases a replica of the St. John’s House, which was originally
built in 1638 to serve as Maryland’s first State House. The surrounding museum grounds occupy about
one acre of beautiful woodlands. Including mature trees, young understory trees and shrubs, there are at
least twenty-five different woody species on the site. Unfortunately, however, wild vegetation, most of it extremely invasive, is also present. The goal of this project is to remove these invasive exotic species to emphasize the existing palette of fine native plants, and add new ones. This is the beginning of a fine
modest-scale arboretum of Southern Maryland plants around a very important historic site.

Lunch: Delicious box lunches including dessert and beverage will be available for $10.00 from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. next to the May Russell Lodge (site 8).  Some seating is available.  Reservations are recommended. Contact Anne Rullman before April 28th at 301.997.0239 or


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

St. Mary’s County lies on the peninsula bounded by the famous “Oyster Waters” - the beautiful Patuxent and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The main highways cutting through the center of the county give little indication of the loveliness beyond on the many less-traveled bypaths. The early settlers built on the shores and traveled by water. In like fashion, today’s tour returns repeatedly to the riverside. In St. Mary’s County the first settlers arrived on March 25, 1634, aboard the Ark and the Dove. Today’s pilgrimage celebrates the 375th anniversary of that event.  After stopping at St. Clement’s Island, where they gave thanks for their safe arrival, the settlers proceeded up St. Mary’s River, where they purchased from the Indians the village of Yaocomico with 30 miles of land, renaming it “St. Maries.” The charter was written in 1632 for George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore. When he died in 1634 before he could carry out his settlement plans, the charter was put into effect under Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, who became the first Proprietor. Cecilius sent his two brothers, Leonard and George, with about 140 settlers and adventurers to the new land where Leonard became the first governor of Maryland. St. Mary’s City was Maryland’s first capital and remained so until 1694 when the seat of government was moved to Annapolis. In 1708 the legislature ordered that a town be laid out at Breton Bay and that the county court of St. Mary’s be held there. First called Seymour Town, the name was changed in 1728 to Leonard Town, now Leonardtown. It is still the county seat. Descendants of some of the original families still own and occupy the houses built by their ancestors.

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

From Baltimore: Take I-695 to US 3 to US 301 South to Upper Marlboro.
At intersection with US 4 go south and take US 4 through Calvert County toward Solomon Island.
Cross the Thomas Johnson Bridge over the Patuxent River. Proceed to the traffic light at the intersection
of US 4 and MD 235; turn south toward Lexington Park and Historic St. Mary’s City. Drive 9 miles to
Park Hall Road, MD 489, and turn right.  When MD 489 meets MD 5, turn left and travel approximately
0.2 miles to North Snow Hill Manor Road.  Turn right.  Travel 1.1 miles to house # 1.

From Washington: US 4 East to Upper Marlboro. Then as described above.

From Richmond: I-95 to US2 07 to US 301, 6.0 mi. north of Potomac River Bridge, turn right at MD 234. Continue south when MD 234 intersects with MD 5 in Leonardtown. Stay on MD 5, travelling approximately 15.5 miles to North Snow Hill Manor Road. Turn right and proceed 1.1 mile to the first tour stop.

Follow Pilgrimage Arrows and Signs.



1. Cornerstone
19583 North Snow Hill Manor Road

This lot was originally a portion of a 6,000 acre bequethment to Justinian Snow, Gentleman, granted by Lord Baron of Baltimore and patented 27 February 1639/40. A plaque that sits onsite was dedicated to this event in 1995 by The Descendants of the Maryland Manor Lords. The original structure on this lot was a 1950s style brick rambler owned by the Rowe family. Now the residence of a granddaughter and family, the modest house was renovated into an eclectic New England style cottage. This new two story, four bedroom house offers spectacular views of the St. Mary's River and has custom cupolas adorning the roof that illuminate at night. There is a gazebo with a large driftwood chandelier and fish cutouts in the risers of the outdoor stairs. The interior of the house has many clever touches that turn a new house into a cozy home including vintage lighting, refinished and mismatched newel posts, 100+ year old butcher block used daily in the kitchen, custom tile work and a claw footed tub in the master bathroom. Some of the original plantings remain including a row of camellias that explode with blooms each year.

Turn right and travel 0.2 mi. to Site #2.


2. 19491 North Snow Hill Manor Road
Garden Only

In a park-like setting on the St. Mary’s River, visitors will find beauty and repose among mature trees and gorgeous flowers.  The landscaping began over fifty years ago with street side plantings of grandiflora magnolias, Otto Luykens laurels, dogwoods, crape myrtles, nandinas and hollies that shelter the garden from the rural road.  Once inside the property, dozens of azaleas, old and new, form an understory of greenery surrounding the front yard.  Shade plantings create yet a third tier of interest.  Formal foundation plantings of award-winning hollies and camellias surround the house itself.  As you move towards the water, dozens of iris, peonies, and viburnums are featured.  A heritage rose (perhaps “New Dawn”?) from the old family farm in Georgia now cascades over an arbor as you enter the cutting garden.  Another climbing rose, “Sombreuil,” graces the courtyard.  Herb, flower, and vegetable gardens delight the owners and their guests throughout the spring and summer.  Friendship garden ornamentals recall the pleasure of sharing favorite plants.  The gardens were designed and are maintained according to “Bay-Wise” practices by amateur landscaper and master gardener, Linda Williams.

Turn right and follow Snow Hill Manor Road 1.3 mi. to its intersection with MD 5. Turn right. Enter the first driveway on the right to Site #3.



3. Tolerance
17301 Point Lookout Road

Tolerance sits on fourteen acres that were part of the original Snow Hill Manor tract deeded to Abell Snow in 1639.  On the property at the corner of South Snow Hill Manor Road and Route MD 5 (Point Lookout Road), is a monument to the Jesuit priest, Father Andrew White, who sailed to St. Mary’s in 1634.  He founded the first Catholic Church in English North America.  The church is currently being rebuilt in Historic St. Mary’s City about one-half mile to the south.  The house at Tolerance was built in the 1930s and later named by Admiral and Mrs. Thurston Clarke, whose heirs sold the property to the current owners in 1994.  The long, large chicken coop on the property was the source of “Pine Shadows” eggs that were sold to the navy base where Admiral Clarke served as Commandant.  The name Tolerance was selected by the Clarkes to commemorate the Act of Religious Toleration, adopted in 1649 in the State House at St. Mary’s City.  The house is built in a classic tidewater Maryland style called a “telescope”.  There is a tall central section flanked on either side by shorter wings.  The current owners remodeled the house in 1995, removing the asbestos shingles and replacing them with cedar.  A master bath and cupola were added as well as interior and mechanical modernization.  The interior of the house contains many of the owners’ collections including Maryland memorabilia, political buttons, army insignia, arrowheads and the art work of local St. Mary’s artists.  The shoreline was protected from further erosion with the construction of a wall of stone (“riprap”) and plantings of sea grass.  This has created a natural habitat for crabs, fish, and other Bay life.  The landscape is enhanced with ancient cedars, crape myrtles and loblolly pines.  The surrounding woods and wetlands provide a refuge for deer, red fox, and even coyote.  Birds are everywhere, including a resident osprey couple and a visiting bald eagle as well as blue birds, geese, loons, and hummingbirds.  

From the driveway, turn right and follow Point Lookout Road, MD 5 for 0.2 mi. to Site #4.




4. Saint Marie's
17157 Point Lookout Road

Saint Marie’s, which overlooks the St. Mary’s River, is located within a large tract of land patented by Nathaniel Pope in the 1630s and called Pope’s Freehold.  After the difficulties of Ingle’s Rebellion, Pope relocated to Westmoreland County in Virginia’s Northern Neck in the area of Pope’s Creek.  His daughter married John Washington.  Nathaniel Pope was the first American ancestor of George Washington.  In Maryland, he participated in the Assembly and served as a colonel in the militia.  In 1919, Mr. Wherritt, president of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, commissioned a local contractor, Benjamin Unkle, to build this large Georgian house. The present owners acquired the property in 1959.  Many structural changes were necessary.  However, the only additions made were the sun porch, brick patio and brick entrances.  The main entrance is under the portico consisting of three tall columns.  Visitors entering the spacious living room enjoy a magnificent vista of the river.  The front of the house features large windows and leads out to a sun room.  Many family antiques as well as paintings by local artists are displayed throughout the home.  A 17th century bonnet secretary as well as an 18th century table are favorites of the owners.  A fine collection of Lladro figurines can be seen.  The spacious dining room features two built-in corner cabinets and a large table, which accommodates the children and grandchildren who have enjoyed this beautiful site on the St. Mary’s River.  The house is surrounded by magnolia trees, azaleas, boxwood, beautiful shrubs, and flowering trees.

Turn right onto MD 5 toward the St. Mary's College of MD. Upon entering the campus, make the first left onto College Drive. Follow signs to Site 5.



Photo Courtesy of the Historic St. Mary's City Commission (HSMC)

5. The St. John's Site Museum

St. John’s is one of the most important historic sites in Maryland, if not the nation.  The home that was built here in 1638 for Maryland’s first provincial secretary was one of the largest enclosed spaces in the colony.  It was where colonial legislators met to hammer out policies supporting the Proprietor’s mandate to separate church and state, a full 150 years before the U.S. Constitution guaranteed religious freedom.  Of the English colonies, this was the place where a woman first asked for the right to vote and where the first individual of African descent participated in a general assembly. St. John’s Site Museum exhibits dramatize the events that shaped Maryland and the nation’s first freedoms.  Audio and video installations introduce individuals and colonial ways of life.  The preserved foundation of the home that stood here throughout the 17th century and original artwork illustrate the evolution of the house, the surrounding plantation, and Tidewater earthfast architecture.  Some of the remarkable artifacts that have been found at the site are on exhibit.  Visitors can examine the contents of a trashpit and gain a unique perspective on life in another time.  State-of-the-art exhibits guide guests towards understanding the ways scholars use archaeology, historical documents, and oral traditions to decipher the past.

Return to Rt. MD 5 and turn left. Drive 0.2 mi. and veer to the right to enter Trinity Church Road. Follow the road 0.2 mi. and enter Parking Lot A on the right. Hostesses will be available to provide information regarding the restrooms, luncheon and visitation of Sites #6-9.




6. The Herb Garden at St. Mary's College

The St. Mary’s County Garden Club, in cooperation with St. Mary’s College, planted this garden in 1983 in honor of the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Maryland colony.  For its effort, the club was awarded the 1983 Governor’s Cup for Civic Beautification and a Special Achievement Certificate for Outstanding Garden Club Work.  Measuring only 20 by 30 feet, and tucked away behind Anne Arundel Hall, the Herb Garden is a refreshing and inviting spot for students, faculty members, and visitors to enjoy. Bright blooms of fragrant herbs such as lavender, bee balm, yarrow, and sage blend with plants of grey, green, silver and white.  These combine with flowers of pink, red, yellow, lavender and blue to grace the formal beds that surround the sundial atop a mound of thyme.  Garden Club members meet monthly from April through October to maintain this special garden for the delight of all who pass through.




Photo © St. Mary's College of Maryland

7. Garden of Remembrance

Shaded by a huge, old willow oak, the Garden of Remembrance provides a tranquil retreat from the pressures of daily life.  Conceived as a tribute to Maryland’s forefathers who arrived in 1634, Adele France, former principal of St. Mary’s Female Seminary, led the effort to construct the Garden in time for the State’s 300th anniversary of the settlement of Maryland.  Although the country was in the grips of the Great Depression, the Alumnae Association raised the funds to construct the garden in two short years and it was dedicated on Sunday, June 10, 1934, just days before the enormous Tercentenary Celebration began at St. Mary’s City.  Designed by Mark Shoemaker, a Landscape Specialist with the Maryland Extension Service, the small, quarter-acre garden follows a plan inspired by the Colonial revival movement.  Boxwoods, azaleas and crape myrtles line the grassy walkways, with the centerpiece of the garden being a small pool with a raised fountain.  Beautiful cherry, holly and dogwood trees and a mixture of perennial bulbs and annual bedding plants add their grace to the attractive grounds.  Restful benches beckon you to sit quietly, listen to the trickling water, and enjoy the breeze.  At the outer edge of the garden, a walk underneath the covered pergola provides a view of the beautiful St. Mary’s River.




8. May Russell Lodge

Located on the original portion of The St. Mary’s Female Seminary campus, now St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the May Russell Lodge sits on a bank overlooking the St. Mary’s River, immediately next to the Garden of Remembrance.  In 1924, after fire destroyed the campus’s main building, bricks from that building were used to transform an old stable into this red brick cottage.  It served many functions over the decades and has been known, at times, as the Old Stable, the Home Economics Cottage, and the Alumnae Lodge.  It was also the home of Anna May Russell, St. Mary’s president from 1948 to 1969.  In 2006, to honor her many years of service to the school, the building was renamed the May Russell Lodge.  Today, the Lodge serves as a charming facility for visiting guests and scholars and is used for meetings and special presentations.   This small dwelling, with its slate roof and inviting screen porch, is situated just uphill from the new waterfront facilities.  




Photo Courtesy of the Historic St. Mary's City Commission (HSMC)

9. Restored Brick Chapel of 1667

The nearly 150 English settlers who arrived at what is now St. Mary’s City aboard the Ark and the Dove established far more than the fourth permanent English colony in North America.  They forged what would become known as the birthplace of religious freedom in English America.  The monumental Roman Catholic Church would not have been allowed to be built anywhere else in the English-speaking world.  It was the focal point of the Catholic faith in Maryland until 1704 when the Calvert family lost control of the colony.  Obeying an order from the royal governor, the Jesuits dismantled the building and used its bricks to construct a new manor house at the St. Inigoes Mission.  The Chapel fields became agricultural fields and, while most above-ground traces of the building were obliterated, they were never forgotten.  In 1938, architectural historian H. Chandlee Forman tested the site and found the chapel’s floor plan to be in the shape of a Latin cross.  After his work, the remains of the building were reburied and no further archeological work took place until the state of Maryland purchased the land for the Historic St. Mary’s City Museum in 1981.  Interest in the site was once again revived, and local citizens raised funds to partially demarcate the site and erect signs for visitors for the 350th anniversary of Maryland’s founding in 1984.  Major research again began four years later, and intensive investigation and excavation retrieved the information essential to accurately recreate the chapel.  In 1997 the Historic St. Mary’s City Foundation began raising funds to rebuild, and the re-creation on the original foundation started in the autumn of 2002.  It is slated for opening to the public in the summer of 2009, the 375th anniversary of Maryland’s founding.  Although in active use for only about thirty years, the brick chapel’s legacy of religious freedom remains a vitally important reminder of faith, perseverance, and enduring American values. 

Exit the parking lot, and return to Point Lookout Road, Rt. MD 5. Turn right, and drive 0.3 mi. to Rosecroft Road, and turn right. Drive 0.4 mi. Make a hard left onto Old Cove Road. Follow the gravel road 0.1 mi. to Site #10.




10. Clocker's Fancy
47715 Old Cove Road

Clocker’s Fancy was once described by Henry Chandlee Forman as the oldest house in Maryland.  While subsequent reports dispute Forman’s initial findings, the house stands as an example of the success of a little known middling plantation owner by the name of Daniel Clocker.  Beginning in 1636, Clocker was an indentured servant to Captain Thomas Cornwaleys.  After his indenture ended in 1640, Clocker may have worked as a tenant farmer.  Around 1645 or 1646, Daniel married the widow of James Courtney, Mary Lawne Courtney.  Mary had formerly been an indentured servant to Margaret Brent.  Daniel Clocker prospered and became one of several justices of the peace for St. Mary’s County. He accumulated some 200 acres of land before his death in 1675.  The land remained in the family line until the third quarter of the 19th century. According to architectural historians Ranzetta, O’Rourke, and Kiorpes, the house today called Clocker’s Fancy was not built by the original Daniel Clocker, but several generations later by Benjamin Clocker, sometime between 1790 and 1810.  Archaeologists Kate and Dan Ingersoll think it may have been built as early as 1745 by Daniel Clocker III, given the evidence that was compiled during the restoration of the house.  The segment of the house between the two brick chimneys is the “Clocker” segment.  The two hyphens were added by the Thomas family, owners between about 1915 and 1935, while a new addition on the east end was built around 1947.  During the 1930s the Thomas family (related to the owners of Deep Falls) added many Colonial Revival features to the central portion of the house, including the pump porch on the west end.  The State of Maryland purchased the house at auction in 1993 from the Heagy estate and the house was closed up until 2003, when the current resident curators negotiated with Historic St. Mary’s City to begin a large-scale restoration project to bring the house and grounds back to life according to the historic preservation standards of the Department of the Interior.

Return to Rosecroft Road, and turn left. Drive 1.3 mi. to Site #11.



11. 17881 Rosecroft Road

Situated next to the house at the end of the peninsula named Rose Croft (also family property with an original foundation dating to 1642), this beautiful house is located in the former orchard of the “croft,” meaning “farm” in Old English.  Where the house now stands were once rows of apple, peach, and persimmon trees.  Built in 2000, and designed by Richard Dayton of Wilmington, DE, the structure echoes the roof line of the original croft house next door.  The house was constructed of Hardy Plank, and reflects a contemporary style.  Each room offers a grand view of the St. Mary’s River.  The large dining room is perfect for entertaining, and the intimate living room next to it lends itself to cozy conversations after dinner.  All of the artworks are originals done by local artists.  Red cedars, all fifty to one hundred years old, line the entrance to the house.  English boxwoods propagated from the 375 year old boxwoods on the adjoining original property next door now enhance the surrounding garden. A hedge of crape myrtles provides privacy around the inviting pool.  The house faces west for magnificent sunset views and south for cool summer breezes.

Turn left to return to Route MD 5.

An optional stop to conclude the tour is the St. Ignatius Catholic Church.  Established in 1641, this church has one of the oldest cemeteries in America as well as exceptional stained glass windows and altar.  Drive south upon your return to MD 5.  The church is located immediately before the front gate of the St. Inigoes Detachment of the Patuxent River Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC-AD).

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