Welcome back bloggers! This post was inspired by co-workers recommendations and involves a rather sporadic timeline of historic events, from the early days of Maryland’s government, to the Revolutionary War, and ending with the 150th anniversary of the Annapolis Police Department!
Clinton and I traveled to Annapolis on a cold Saturday in December to walk the historic streets and see a few cool places around town. It did not disappoint. Our first stop was the Maryland State House. What an beautiful piece of architecture! This state house is the oldest state
house still in legislative use. Completed in 1779, it not only was a site for the Treaty of Paris , but also the location where George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army. This impressive building houses the Maryland General Assembly for three months each year, but is also open to the public almost every day for self-guided tours. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, one of the most iconic features is the dome. Designed by colonial architect Joseph Clark and completed in 1794, it is the oldest and largest wooden dome in the US. It’s also
worth noting that the State House was also the first peacetime capitol and the only state house to ever serve as the nation’s capitol. Pretty cool!
Next we visited the William Paca House, which is a Georgian mansion built in the 1760s. William Paca was one of Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence, and was also the state’s third Governor. I found the history of the mansion and the property to be rather unique. The house was built on two acres of land to include a terraced garden. In 1780, the house was sold but continue to remain as a single-family home until 1801 when it became a rental property. In 1901 it was purchased by William Larned, who converted it into a hotel. Named Carver Hall, it was one of Annapolis’s finest hotels. Marcellus Hall, who started working as a bellboy in 1913, retired as the Superintendent of Services when it shut its door for the last time in 1965. Historic Annapolis and the State of Maryland ended up purchasing the house in 1965 to preserve it, and they successfully restored the house and gardens to their 18th century appearances.
Walking through the city is fun in itself. There are wonderful stores with unique, handmade items, as well as restaurants that have been open since the early colonial days. One thing that caught my eyes was this beautifully decorated tree, presented in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Annapolis Police Department. Back in the 1700s there was actually no official police organization, but “watchmen”, who would patrol the streets to assist with residential disputes or stop criminal activities. In 1854, the city officially hired two “City Watchmen” to patrol the streets at night. It was not until 1861 that the term Police Officer was established when William Hubbard Jr. took the oath as the “City Watchman and Police Officer.” On June 17, 1867, the Annapolis Police Department was officially established with a Commissioner, the Chief of Police, and four officers – Nicholas Deal, C. Lamb, B. Esmond, and James Hurley. Another fun fact – the city hired its first female officer, Barbara Hopkins, in 1973!
Annapolis was a beautiful, quaint, walk-able city that was a joy to visit for a day trip. We definitely did not see everything there is to see, so you’ll probably read another blog post in the future when we go back to visit. Until next time!