This is a past tour--for information only
QUEEN ANNE'S COUNTY
Saturday, May 14, 2019
10:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M.
“Good Queen Anne” of England gave her name to this county established in 1706. Its 350 square miles have a vast waterfront but few hills. Kent Island is the oldest community in Maryland and one of the oldest in the country. It was first settled between 1628 and 1631 under the leadership of the colorful William Claiborne, “a Gentleman adventurer” from England. This area was later granted to Lord Baltimore. Life was complicated by attacks of Indians: Tockwoghs, Wicomeses and Matapeakes. Early settlers established parishes that were instrumental in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic faiths. The land proved excellent for raising tobacco, wheat, corn, and fruit. Seafood was plentiful. Sailing ships soon plied their way to and from the markets. Life on the large manors took on the flavor of old England. At the beginning of the Revolution, Queen Anne’s was one of the most prosperous counties in the colony. It not only contributed men and supplies to the patriot cause but also furnished some of the most distinguished patriots. One was William Paca, the eminent statesman and signer of the Declaration of Independence, who maintained a beautiful country home on Wye Island in addition to his home in Annapolis. A Statement of American rights and the proposal of the formation of an “Association for breaking off all commercial connection with Great Britain until the said Act of parliament be repealed” was written at Queenstown, the county seat, on May 13, 1774. On July 16, the Maryland Gazette stated, “A vessel has sailed from the Eastern Shore of the Province with a cargo of provisions as a free gift to our besieged brethren of Boston.” A company of Queen Anne’s minutemen under a Captain Dean was ordered to Philadelphia and joined General Smallwood’s Marylanders in the New York battles under George Washington. Today’s tour reflects the colorful and varied history of the county from its early settlers to its more modern residents.
Co-Chairs: Diana Pietrowiak, Dorothea Abbott
Committee Chairs: Property Selection: Dot Abbott and Diana Pietrowiak. Script, Maps, and Directions: Dot Abbott and Diana Pietrowiak. Hostesses: Sally Cooper and Laura Roth. Photography: Diana Pietrowiak. Luncheon: Michele Shultz. Advertising: Dot Abbott and Diana Pietrowiak. Publicity: Kathy Gross. Patrons and Benefactors: Diane Freestate. Road Marking: Ann McLaughlin. Treasurer: Carolyn MacGlashan. Ticket Presales: Janice Clark. Floral: Sue Hansen and April Walter.
Special Project: St. Peter the Apostle Church Restoration Project. St. Peter’s (Tour Site #3) represents the earliest Catholic community in Queen Anne’s County, dating back to the early 1700s. A small “Chapel House” was erected in 1765 and was later enlarged before 1813. By 1819 plans were underway to replace it given the rapidly growing congregation and a new church was built between 1823 and 1827. This church was enlarged again at a cost of $6,000 and rededicated on December 23, 1877. St. Peter’s, which relies on private donations to fund its preservation efforts, will use the pilgrimage funds to help repair and restore the existing 1877 church structure. Restoration includes, among other things, repairing or replacing architectural elements, removing deteriorated paint, restoring the original 1877 English stained glass windows, and repointing/waterproofing the exterior brick work. Much of the work must be done by skilled artisans using present day materials that can replicate the original elements.
Joining this tour for the first time, Stoopley-Gibson is a stately three-story 18th century Georgian brick home that was enlarged in the 19th century, with secondary restorations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Of particular note is the original all-header bond brick on the south facade, common in Annapolis homes from 1740-1780; and the two-story north-facing veranda reminiscent of Jefferson’s Monticello. The land can be traced to the mid-17th century when John Gibson and Henry Stoupe patented 150 acres via a 1656 land grant. After various periods of ownership, the McGuckians purchased the property in 1934—coinciding with the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg and a general awakening of interest in historic preservation. The McGuckians added the kitchen wing, with its butler’s pantry. Significant local history includes fugitive slave, Henry Massey, who escaped from the home in 1854, as well as the loss of the family cemetery to shoreline erosion. The home features 40 original wood floors, six fireplaces, and an antique boathouse. The gardens feature magnolia, holly, and multiple centenarian trees, including one of Maryland’s largest English boxwoods.
2. KIRWAN HOUSE AND GENERAL STORE
641 Dominion Road, Chester 21619. The Victorian home (circa 1879) of James E. Kirwan (Maryland’s State Senator 1900-1908) and the attached general store have had an ongoing restoration by present owners. The store is fully stocked as if it were 1900, and the home has all of the original furnishings, china, pottery, an Edison cylinder phonograph, family photos, and an 1821 manumission paper. Owner of a 300 acre farm, Kirwan had many varied enterprises, including the largest terrapin farm in Maryland. Three of the 21 outbuildings—the dairy, icehouse, and carpenter shed— still exist. Kirwan was working on the water by age 10, captain of the William Baines by 16, and captain of many other ships thereafter. This qualified him to be a Commander in the Oyster Navy. Locals agree, however, that his greatest accomplishment was fighting the War Department in 1917 to keep Kent Island from becoming an Aberdeen Proving Ground. This earned him the endearing title: Grand Old Man of Kent Island. The property gives visitors a real glimpse into the life of a prominent family on the rural Eastern Shore at the turn of the 20th century. Owned by the Kent Island Heritage Society.
3. SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE CHURCH
5319 Ocean Gateway, Queenstown 21658. Soon after William Claiborne founded his colony on Kent Island in 1631, a Catholic community was established, becoming the second oldest in the English speaking colonies. The establishment of St. Peter’s parish in 1765 was the fourth attempt by the Jesuits to found a mission center in the heart of the Eastern Shore for the Wye River area. A 1760 bequest of 50 pounds from Edward Neale of “Bowlingly” provided the land on which the brick chapel was built. The present church was built in 1823-1827, and jousting tournaments were held to help raise funds for the 1877 expansion into cruciform style. Distinguishing features include the steeply pitched slate roofs, decorated vergeboards, large rose windows, and a Victorian bell cupola. The interior contains the 1877 English stained glass and altar furniture, and four pews from 1827. The cemetery’s earliest grave dates to 1820—many early benefactors are also buried there. Many keepsakes and artifacts are displayed in the Raskob Memorial Room. St. Peter’s is on the National Register of Historic Places. Note: St. Peter’s staff will prepare for evening mass at 4:45 pm—all are welcome to the Catholic mass held at 5:30 pm.
4. THE HERMITAGE
120 Hermitage Farm Lane, Centreville 21617. Settled over 350 years ago, The Hermitage is one of Maryland’s oldest continuously inhabited thumb grants to be held by direct descendants of the original settler and still functions today as a working farm. The property was patented to Dr. Richard Tilghman, a surgeon in the British Navy, in 1658 by Charles Calvert, Lord Baltimore. The estate grew to 2000 acres in the mid-1800s and today stands at just under 900 acres. Buildings were added over the years to accommodate its growing productivity—tenant houses, restored slave quarters, a smoke house, ice house, stables, and barns. It seems only fitting that Richard Tilghman, who died in 1675, and his wife, Mary Foxley, are buried in the adjacent family cemetery. The home’s porch faces Tilghman Creek with the Chester River beyond. The view includes many old and elegant trees, among them the second largest ginkgo tree in Maryland.
5. THE GUNSTON SCHOOL
911 Gunston Road, Centreville 21617. 41 The Hermitage, 120 Hermitage Farm Lane, Centreville 21617 The Gunston Farm School was founded in 1911 by Sam and Mary Middleton on their farm along the Corsica River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, in response to the disabling effects of polio on their daughter, and their refusal to accept that she receive anything but the highest quality education. Students were housed in “The Big House” circa 1890 (the current day Middleton House) which remains at the heart of The Gunston School’s 35-acre campus. Headmaster Jeffrey Woodworth oversaw the renovation of Middleton House, which had fallen into disrepair. Refurbishment was completed in 2007 and the building became the Admissions and Administration building. The remodel maintained the integrity of the exterior of the Victorian Era building, including its mansard roof, and preserved several historic fireplaces in the interior space. The school was first certified as a Maryland Green School in 2011 and has upheld a high standard for campus sustainability including the installation of rain and pollinator gardens, and completion of an extensive stepped stream water conveyance to restore badly eroded ravines. A Living Shoreline was completed in 2013, which created 8,542 square feet of marsh habitat over a rock sill. Native plants provide natural filtration for improved water quality as well as protection of the intertidal environment’s aquatic and terrestrial species.
6. SILK FARM
Silk Farm is part of a 350-acre tract patented in 1665 as Barbadoes Hall by Christopher Thomas. The farm owes its present name to the Queen Anne’s County Silk Company, which was chartered in 1835 and which purchased the farm in 1836. The company soon disappeared from the records and the farm was sold in 1840 to Richard Tilghman Earle. The original brick house is believed to date from the second quarter of the 18th century, most likely built by the Wilkinson or Clayton family. In the 1830s the house burned and was rebuilt shortly thereafter. Three of the four exterior walls of the early house survive, whereas the second story was added when the house was rebuilt. A kitchen wing was added in 1949. Of particular interest are the handsome 18th century brickwork of the south facade, the tiled weatherings of the gable chimneys, and the corbelled shoulders. Significant outbuildings include an early 19th century log plank meathouse and very fine old barn. A graveyard was discovered in 1947.
7. SEARS HOME
Black, gray, and cream dominate this elegant home situated along a serene tree-lined street. Once part of a larger farm, the white-sided residence with louvered black shutters is entered via the welcoming brick and boxwood lined walkway—pops of color are provided by the abundant hydrangeas in the gardens. Built in 1923 as a Sears Roebuck kit house, there is nothing “kit-like” beyond its heritage. The owners—a seasoned interior designer and a renowned jazz and classical pianist—intermingle antique pieces with modern items. The result is an eclectic masterpiece that was inspired by the “gray scale of the Atlantic.” In the dining room, a shimmering drop crystal and gilded chandelier, more at home in the late 1800s, co-mingles with a modern table and rug. A filigreed birdhouse, comfy sofas, and an antique painted mirror adorn the sun room, which was one of the wings added to the original home. In the living room, a satin black Steinway piano blends perfectly with object d’art and the muted color scheme. All in all, a delight for the eyes!
8. KENNARD HIGH SCHOOL
410 Little Kidwell Avenue, Centreville 21617. Kennard High School (circa 1936) was the county’s first and only secondary school for African Americans and named for Queen Anne’s County educator Lucretia Kennard Daniels (1871-1933). In 1907, Ms. Daniels was “Supervisor of Colored Schools” in Caroline County; in 1919, she was appointed as the supervisor in Queen Anne's County. Ms. Daniels dedicated her life to establishing a black comprehensive high school. The school was built on land purchased by the African American citizens of Queen Anne’s County for $99. The school was constructed in 1935-36, through President Roosevelt’s WPA program at a cost of $2,600. At the time of its dedication in 1937, 4 classrooms, a small library, and a principal’s office accommodated the 131 students and 4 faculty. The school operated until 1966, when schools in Queen Anne’s County were integrated. The building has been restored to create a 47 cultural heritage center and includes an African American History Museum. Owned by the Kennard Alumni Association.