Colonial Annapolis

Annapolis has more 18th Century buildings than any city in the United States. Most are private homes or businesses; only a few are open to the public.

 

William Paca House 

The William Paca House (186 Prince George Street) is what’s called a five-part Georgian mansion. The original part was built in 1763 by Paca, one of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The house went through several owners and at one time was a hotel. It was saved from demolition in 1965 by an historic association and is currently being renovated room-by-room as money comes in.

William Paca House in Annapolis, MD
“Painstakingly restored to its original splendor using details drawn from historic artwork and archaeological excavations, the two-acre colonial William Paca Garden is a picturesque retreat from the bustle of the city.” – Historic Annapolis

The house is known for its two-acre English-style Colonial garden.

Tours of the house begin at the top of the hour; visitors can wander the garden until tour time. Check the website site for tour times and fees.

 

Hogshead

The same historic association that owns the Paca House also owns historic Hogshead (43 Pinkney Street), a living-history museum in one of the small wooden homes on a side street.
Hogshead, historic house in Annapolis
“This modest wood-frame structure with a gambrel roof is a rare surviving example of a building type that was common in 18th-century Annapolis. It was just this sort of inexpensive rental housing that the new state government pressed into service as barracks for military recruits during the Revolutionary War.” – Historic Annapolis

There’s no fee to tour the house, but it’s open only on weekends from the end of March through the Fall and during special events. Volunteers dress in colonial costumes explain life during the 18th Century.

 

Shiplap House

Nearby is the Shiplap House (18 Pinkney Street), circa 1715. It’s one of the oldest surviving houses in Annapolis.
Shiplap House in Annapolis, MD
The Shiplap house is named for its siding on the rear facade and the north-east side, called “shiplap,” where the boards are a random width.

It was a store and tavern in the 18th century. Now its the offices for Historic Annapolis and not generally open for tours.

 

James Bryce House

The James Bryce House (42 East Street) joined the public tour circuit after the state of Maryland bought the historic landmark in 2014. It’s said to be the most haunted house in Annapolis.

The five-part brick mansion is the largest and considered rather plain on the outside compared to the other Georgian mansions in the neighborhood, but more ornate inside.

It was built in 1767 by James Brice, an aide-de-camp in General Washington’s army, Mayor of Annapolis and acting governor of Maryland in 1792.

James Brice House, Annapolis, MD
“The James Brice House is one of the largest and most elegant of Annapolis’s historic homes, and one of the most important surviving structures from colonial America.” – Historic Annapolis

The non-profit Historic Annapolis maintains and operates the 30-room Georgian mansion. It’s open weekdays 9am – 5pm.

Group tours can be arranged by appointment.

 

Hammond-Harwood House

Hammond-Harwood House (19 Maryland Avenue) is one of the huge merchant mansions. It was built in 1774 and stayed in the same family until sold to St. John’s College in 1926.
Hammond-Harwood House, Annapolis, MD
The Hammond-Harwood House is a five part Anglo-Palladian mansion. According to Bohl Architects, “The Hammond-Harwood House is a masterpiece of architectural design. It has been described as ‘the most beautiful house in colonial America’.”

The furniture was also sold off and St. John’s started looking for period furniture to replace it. An historic association bought the house in 1940. This means the house and its contents are still very much of the period.

Only guided tours are available. They begin at the top of the hour, and the tour times vary depending on the season. There is a fee for the tour, but the garden is included. Check the website for cost and times.

 

Chase-Lloyd House

Across the street is the Chase-Lloyd House (22 Maryland Avenue), built in 1769 by Samuel Chase, another Maryland signer of the Declaration of Independence who lived in Annapolis.

However, Chase himself never lived there. He sold the house to Edward Lloyd IV, a Maryland delegate to the Continental Congress, who finished what is now considered one of the best preserved three-story Georgian townhouses from the Colonial era.

Chase-Lloyd House, Annapolis, MD
“The Chase-Lloyd House is one of the last of its kind to be built in Annapolis. Though the house has been restored and updated for modern use many times, it has remained true to its initial design.” – Chase Home Inc

The home was given to the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1888 and has been a home for elderly women since then. However, the house is now an historic landmark and the first floor is open to the public on weekday afternoons, from 2pm-4pm.

 

Or just wander through the nearby neighborhoods.

Pinkney Street, Annapolis, MD
Pinkney Street where some of the oldest homes in Annapolis are located. These are smaller merchants’ houses, not the grand Colonials build later.
Side street off State Circle in Annapolis
Cornhill Street, one of the streets that shoot off State Circle like spokes. A popular photo spot for tourists.
Victorian homes in Annapolis
A row of Victorian homes on Prince George Street in Annapolis near St. John’s College
Fleet Street in Annapolis, MD
Fleet Street in Annapolis, typical row of historic watermen homes.

 

 


St. John’s College

Entrance to St. John's College

St. John’s College was started nearly 150 years before the Naval Academy.

Founded in 1696, St. John’s is the third oldest college in the U.S., after Harvard and William and Mary.

It’s in a neighborhood of historic wood-frame mansions with an occasional brick home mixed in.

The highly unusual St. John’s offers only one bachelors degree, Liberal Arts.

Students are required to read the Great Books of Western Civilization.  They attend tutorials and seminars rather than formal classes.

St. John's College campus in Annapolis
St. John’s College campus in Annapolis

Students can be seen playing croquet on the expansive quad. It’s a major sport at St. John’s. Each Spring, “Johnnies” challenge Naval Middies to a match. It’s a big annual event in Annapolis.

The campus really isn’t available for tourists, but you can wander around campus. It has a peaceful, tree-shaded, grass quad.

 

Click for More…

6 Reasons to Visit Annapolis

What’s on Main Street?

City Dock/Ego Alley (downtown waterfront)

State Circle (state capitol area)

West Street (hipster area)

Maryland Avenue (antique row)

Eastport (historic waterman-neighborhood)

U.S. Naval Academy

Haunted Houses & Pubs

What Else?

Getting Around

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