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Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

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Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings


Location: Anne Arundel County; the area bounded by Spa Creek, Duke of Gloucester Street, Church Circle, College Avenue, and King George, Hanover, Randall, and Prince George Streets; Annapolis.

Ownership and Administration. Various.

Significance. Though this Historic District was declared eligible for the Registry of National Historic Landmarks primarily because of its 18th-century significance, it also has important associations with the phases of history treated in this volume. In 1649, the same year that Lord Baltimore's Religious Toleration Act made Maryland a haven for nonconformists, about 300 dissatisfied Puritans emigrated from Virginia to the mouth of the Severn River, near the site of Annapolis. Soon afterward, some of them settled at the site of Annapolis—which they gave various names, including Proctor's Landing, Arundelton, Severn, and Anne Arundel Town, until 1695, when they renamed it Annapolis in honor of Princess Anne, Protestant daughter of James II.

Sands House
The majority of historic buildings in Annapolis, Maryland, date from the 18th century. One exception is the Sands House, the oldest frame building in the town, built in 1690's.

The year before, the town had been designated the capital of Maryland in place of St. Marys City. A political and mercantile center, the town also had an active social and cultural life. Merchants and planters built elegant homes and entertained legislators. Theaters, horseraces, and taverns provided entertainment. After the turn of the 18th century, the affluence of the city increased and during the War for Independence reached its pinnacle. Near the end of the war, the Continental Congress met in the Maryland State House (a Registered National Historic Landmark, relating primarily to political and military affairs, 1783-1830), where in 1783 George Washington resigned his commission. Soon after this period, Baltimore began to gain the ascendancy as the commercial center of the State of Maryland.

Present Appearance. More pre-Revolutionary brick buildings are preserved in Annapolis than in any other U.S. city. Most of the historic buildings date from the 18th century. Some of the more important are the Maryland State House, Old Treasury Building, William Reynolds Tavern, Peggy Stewart House, Christopher Hohne-Holland House, and Brice House. The few buildings remaining from the 17th century include: the Little Photo Studio, originally the Kentish Inn, constructed in 1696-1700 as a tavern; and the Sands House, the oldest frame building in the town, built in the 1690's. [70]

NHL Designation: 06/23/65

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005