History of The Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
This year marks the ninetieth anniversary of tours organized and sponsored by the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage Committee. The first tour was held in 1930 and, with the exception of four years at the beginning of its history and three “war” years, the Pilgrimage has been part of springtime tradition in Maryland.The continued popularity and growth of the tours is testimony to the foresight and persistence of a few Baltimore women inspired by friends in Virginia who organized Virginia Garden Week to raise money for restoring the gardens at Kenmore, home of George Washington’s sister. The Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland suggested that Maryland open houses and gardens following the week in Virginia.
Although the idea was totally new, owners of many of the most interesting houses in Maryland were persuaded to share their houses with the public for a day. Fifty cents was charged for admission to a single house and a hard-back guide book was available for one dollar. In 1930 there were many country roads which were still unpaved and Schedules of the Chesapeake Bay ferries were listed in the first Maryland tour book. One must realize the undertaking and time involved to reach the Eastern Shore, those first visitors were pilgrims indeed!
There have been wars, riots, gas shortages and inflation, and at the same time great advances in technology and the building of super highways have been made. Constant, however, have been the hospitality and generosity of the homeowners who shared their collections , their furnishings and their gardens with the public. Visitors have been enriched with a deeper appreciation of history, architecture, garden design and decorative arts while supporting historic preservation in the state of Maryland. You can read the entire book by clicking on it.
- Summarized from History of The Maryland House and Garden Pigrimage by Hally Brent Dame p. 1987