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This is a past tour--for information only


10 am to 5 pm

Special Project: Tour proceeds will benefit Historic London Town & Garden’s “Garden Entryway Enhancement Project.” London Town will use the pilgrimage funds to design and install a new garden entryway to give visitors better views of our gardens and the South River, while providing an aesthetically pleasing visual barrier between our public spaces and horticultural work spaces. The new entryway will transform the visitor’s experience of the gardens. It will invite visitors into the gardens to admire stunning views from London Town’s unique location on the South River (which led to the town’s founding in 1683), while enhancing perspectives of London Town’s 10 acres of ornamental and woodland gardens and special collections that provide year-round interest. .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The 2018 Pilgrimage South County Tour focuses on that portion of Anne Arundel County known as South County. It is the last remaining area of large farms in the county.  Anne Arundel County, established in 1650, is the third oldest county in Maryland, following St. Mary’s and Kent Counties. The county was named in honor of Lady Anne Arundel, wife of Cecil Calvert, second Lord Baltimore and Proprietor of the Province, who died in 1649. The county was laid out in “hundreds” which gave way to “parishes” with the establishment of the Church of England in the Province of Maryland in 1692. The Quakers were instrumental in the settling of the southern part of the county. Many of the homes on today’s tour either have never been on the Pilgrimage or have not been open for many years. The tour committee has attempted to create a tour that will emphasize the historical heritage and the significant additions to the architectural diversity of this part of the county.

William Brown House, Historic London Town & Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater 21037

The William Brown House (c. 1760) was built by ferrymaster, carpenter, and tavern keeper William Brown to be the new tavern at the public ferry crossing of the South River from London Town to Annapolis. His large Georgian house uniquely features header bond brick on all four elevations and raised corner rooms. Despite his ambition and skill, his financial situation declined and he lost the house to the mortgage holder in 1782. By 1800 the once busy town around it had almost completely disappeared. In 1828 the Brown House and 10 acres around it was purchased by Anne Arundel County to be the almshouse which continued to operate until 1965. In 1970 it became part of the Anne Arundel County Park system and a National Historic Landmark.

Ballard House,

A one mile entry road winds through flowering Bartlett pear trees past an old tobacco barn to the Ballard house. Built in 2001 as one of 38 custom houses on an old Southern Maryland tobacco farm, the house has many unique features, including a natural stone front facade, a curved stairway in the entry, a finished counter bar and wet bar on the lower level, and a built-in mother-in-law suite currently used as an additional home office and exercise room. The two-level wraparound deck and stone patio look out over an extensive shade garden that includes a lovely collection of azaleas, hostas, flowering fruit trees, and a variety of hydrangea and knock-out roses. 


Named after The Forest of Arden in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, was built in 1842 by Dr. James Murray, a young and prominent physician of West River, for his second wife, Mary Cheston of Hawthorne Ridge. Dr. Murray later served as a surgeon for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Arden was designed (on a smaller scale) after a Louisiana plantation house. The style was a radical departure from the traditional styles of Southern Maryland architecture. The ceilings are 13 feet, the floors in the front section of the house are all original Georgia pine. The guest cottage is in what was once Dr. Murray’s ‘surgery’ or doctor’s office. In 2014 Lynbrook of Annapolis and Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects teamed together to modernize and enhance the historic fabric of Arden.

The Rosenwald School Galesville Community Center, 916 West Benning Road, Galesville 20764

What is now the Galesville Community Center was built as an elementary school for African American children in 1929, one of 25 Rosenwald Schools built in the county between 1921 and 1932. This was a project undertaken throughout the south by Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and president of Sears Roebuck. The school was a one room building that cost $1900 ($200 from the Rosenwald Fund, $1600 from Anne Arundel County, and $100 from the African American community). A room was added in 1931 to accommodate the 81 students. It served the Galesville community until 1956 when the school became obsolete in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in education unconstitutional. The Rosenwald school design emphasized providing maximum space at minimal cost. The building was to be only one story with wooden floors and plastered walls. The most characteristic feature of the school was the grouping of tall double-hung sash windows, intentionally facing east and west to allow natural sunlight into the school, reducing the need for electric lighting. The interior and exterior walls were to be painted in light colors, such as white, cream, buff and ivory, for aesthetic and sanitary reasons. The local community has participated in the preservation of its Rosenwald School, a building type placed on the 2002 National Trust of Historic Preservation’s list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Adjacent to the Community Center via a short walk is the Galesville Hot Sox baseball field where the local African American team played ball for more than 50 years and sent some players on to the big leagues. The Galesville Community Association has preserved memorabilia and stories of many of the players. The ball field is on property leased by the team from the Henry Wilson family. The stabilized Wilson House is a three-bay, two story transitional frame house with a two-story, braced-frame rear wing built by former slave Henry Wilson circa 1870 on 2 acres of land purchased from the Tulip Hill plantation in 1865. Wilson eventually accumulated over 27 acres. In 1870, Wilson was one of 2,730 freedmen who owned property in Maryland, and one of only 462 who owned a house in the state. 


The Zantzinger Farmhouse,

Built to embrace and belong in its magnificent setting on 68 acres overlooking a creek off the West River. The house was carefully designed by Jones & Boer Architects to take full advantage of water views and access. Precisely positioned windows offer views from the approach through the house to the creek. The architect used hundred year old bricks to form the chimneys and foundations, fumed the oak floors to achieve a weathered patina, and milled the clapboard siding to appear aged and appropriate to the design of the house. He moved an 1835 cottage from a neighboring property into the garden area near the pool and restored it to be a charming guesthouse. Amy, an interior designer, created an interior to reflect her husband’s Southern Maryland heritage with decor featuring sailing trophies, hunting memorabilia and artifacts of tobacco farming and local culture. The house is one room deep with windows facing both east and west in each room, bringing in light and stunning views in all directions. There is a charming farmhouse kitchen with views of the dock and garden. A wide portico on the water side offers gracious casual entertaining with a spectacular view across the creek towards the Chesapeake Bay.

Larkin’s Hundred,

A two-story brick house built c. 1730 by Captain Joseph Cowman, a mariner and wealthy Quaker. It remained in his family until the early 19th century. In the 1830s the property was acquired by William O’Hara who named it The Division, while during that period the house became known as The Castle. It was one of the largest houses in the area at the time of its construction. It has been described as unpretentious but dignified with good proportions. There is elegant Flemish bond brickwork on the south or principal facade, English bond on the others. The house features a central passage flanked by two rooms on each side with paneled fireplace walls. The graceful walnut stairway is notable, rising from the first floor toward the second where it splits into a “good morning staircase,” servicing the rooms to the front and to the rear of the house. In c. 1870 the original brick kitchen, a separate building, was declared unsafe and replaced by the clapboard kitchen wing there today. The house has been meticulously restored after the ravages of the 2011 earthquake and hurricane.

SERC Mansion Ruins and Rain Garden, 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater 21037

In 1962, a dairy farmer named Mr. Robert Lee Forrest bequeathed his 368-acre Java dairy farm and other holdings on the Rhode River to the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) was officially established in 1965. Its headquarters now comprise 2,650 acres of diverse landscape and 15 miles of protected shoreline on the nation’s largest estuary—Chesapeake Bay. The tour will include visits to the historical Java Mansion Ruins, the Rain Garden and Meadow at the Charles McC. Mathias Laboratory; and the Garden Pond. In 2008, SERC acquired the adjacent Contee Farm, thus reuniting the two pieces of the Java plantation split in two for a century and a half.

Expansion to the neighboring Sellman Farm two years later spurred the creation of an official Archaeology Lab, which includes work currently being done around the Mansion Ruins, where stabilization was completed in 2017. The Charles McC. Mathias Laboratory is designed to be the Smithsonian’s most environmentally sustainable building to date, and the first Smithsonian building to achieve LEED Platinum status. A key green feature of the Mathias Laboratory is its geothermal heating and cooling system which includes 250 wells that are 430 feet deep.

The Meadow and Rain Garden lie on top of the wells. It is a 4.65 acre constructed wetland that filters storm water and also provides habitat for native wildlife. Rainwater from three cisterns and recycled gray water from the lab provide irrigation for the native plants in this area, which include butterfly weed (a native orange milkweed), native coneflower, partridge pea, coreopsis and black-eyed Susan. The Garden Pond and Wetland were constructed in 2014. The Pond has a rubber liner and receives runoff from the garden. It was designed around a central island with established trees of Loblolly Pine, Dogwood, and Redbud. Christmas Fern and Mayapple are native plants that have established in the wetland fringe.


Margaret’s Fields,

The Maryland Historical Trust describes this house as “…a handsome, 18th century brick structure and an unexpected sight in the midst of a dense, waterfront community of small frame houses.” The residence, which was built in 1710, on 258 acres known as Margaret’s Fields, now stands on eight acres of land leading down to a pond. The original house is a two story structure under an A frame roof, with large end chimneys. The house stands on a high, stone foundation. Its rough stonework has garreted mortar joints. All four walls of the house are laid in Flemish bond. Extensive renovations have been made to the interior of the house through the years. The most recent renovation, which more than doubled the size of the residence, was completed by the current owners. The result is a warm and gracious family home that is respectful of its heritage.

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