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.
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.
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.
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.
Nearby is the Shiplap House (18 Pinkney Street), circa 1715. It’s one of the oldest surviving houses in Annapolis.
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.