South Anne Arundel County
While Spanish explorers are known to have arrived inside the Chesapeake Bay in 1566, Southern Anne Arundel County was still virtually unsettled by the early 17th century. The first Englishman to visit this area was Captain Lane in 1585 with an artist, John White, who drew extremely detailed maps of the Bay. The first detailed records of settlers exploring these shores date from 1608 by Captain John Smith. In April 1672, George Fox, founder of Quakerism, opened the first General Meeting of Friends in Maryland at Route 468 and Route 255 near Galesville.
Holly Hill, circa 1689 near Freindship off Route 261 is the oldest identifiable structure in all of the county. The London Town Publik House, circa 1750 in Edgewater, is the only extant building from the colonial town, London Town. Legend has it that Black Beard and other pirates hid treasure on these shores.
The Town of London, founded in 1683 on the South River in Anne Arundel County, quickly grew to become a thriving and bustling port. By the early 18th century, it had grown to such proportions that it rivaled the colonial capitals of Williamsburg and Annapolis. The reason for its growth is that here, the South River Ferry connected roads from the southern colonies with the main route connecting Williamsburg and Philadelphia. Many of the most notable figures of the period (including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) traveled this route and more than likely "supped" in the taverns and inns of London.
Ships laden with merchandise from Europe and the Caribbean arrived at London's docks to fill the many stores and warehouses in town and take loads of tobacco home. Slavers from Africa arrived to sell their human cargo. An industry of tradesmen arose -- rope makers, barrel makers, leather workers, carpenters and shipbuilders plied their trades in busy London. London Town citizen Dr. Richard Hill sent plant specimens from London to colonial botanist John Bartram and to the Royal Society in London, England.
Today, the house built by ferry-master, joiner and planter William Brown (circa 1760) as both his home and a tavern is the last visible remnant of this once bustling seaport. A stately Georgian-style house, it, too, boasts a colorful history. William Brown lost the house to his creditor and was forced out at gunpoint. The house fell to a series of owners, including John Hoskins Stone who went on to become Governor of Maryland. In 1828, the building became the Anne Arundel County Almshouse, and for the next 140 years it housed the county's poorest residents.
The house was restored and opened as a museum in the early 1970s. Today, the house contains an interesting collection of artifacts and furnishings, and recently has been studied by historic building archaeologist and architects. The results of their "surgery," views into the building process of two centuries past can be seen, as well as the ongoing process of restoration.
Recently, archaeologists have begun to explore London Town. Beneath the 23 acre park lie the archaeological remains of a significant portion of lost London. Active dig sites include the cellar of Rumney's Tavern, the Lord Mayor's house and William Brown's workshop. In all, perhaps ten of the 30-40 buildings which once existed in the town await excavation and discovery by professional archaeologists and volunteers. Future plans include reconstruction of buildings on their original foundations.
Eight acres of woodland gardens offer an unusual combination of native and exotic species and tranquil wooded and water vistas. The gardens offer beauty and respite.
Historic London Town sits on 23 acres on the banks of the South River in Edgewater, minutes from downtown Annapolis, and 35 minutes from Baltimore and Washington. The house is open for guided tours, visitors can view the gardens independently, and archaeologists dig in search of the Lost Town of London on an ongoing basis. The House and Gardens, Museum & Garden Shop are open year round; January and February, gardens are open, house tours by appointment; Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12-4pm, March to December: House Gardens and Archaeological sites open, Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12-4pm. Closed major holidays. Admission. Ample parking. For information about group tours, special events, education programs or banquet and meeting facilities, call 410-222-1919.
Arden, near Harwood, was the home of Dr. James Murray, a close friend of General Robert E. Lee. He served as a surgeon with the Confederate Army during the War Between the States. He built Arden in 1842 and named it for Shakespeare's Forest of Arden from A Midsummer Night's Dream because of the magnificent woods nearby. Dr. Murray built the house for his second wife, Mary Cheston, of Hawthorne Ridge. Following the style of a Louisiana mansion, the main roof covers a deep verandah, which extends around the front and sides of the house. The entrance opens into a wide center hall with the living room on the south side and the dining room on the north.
The front hall has a fine tongue and groove ceiling, an embroidered map of England and carperter's locks on all exterior door as well as the original Georgia pine floors. The caricature near the door is of Hamilton Fish, the owner's grandfather who was a statesman and Secretary of State. The owner's great grandfather was the first governor of New York, Peter Stuyvesant. Much of the Orientalia in the dining room was brought to the home by her uncle, James Scrinser, founder of IT&T and United Charities. The small house in the gardens was Dr. Murray's surgery building. His own chest is still there. On the sides of the drawers, he wrote what he kept in each of them. His desk has cubby holes for keeping small items, much as an apothecary desk.
This private home may be viewed by groups with an invitation from owners.
Steamboat Landing Restaurant
The Steamboat Landing Restaurant out on a pier in historic Galesville, just 20 minutes from Annapolis, has a stirring history. This was the pier where the beloved Emma Giles Steamboat tied up. She was a large white boat that conveyed pleasure travelers between Baltimore and Annapolis. Her great engine operated for 83 years, a mammoth heart in this small ship, the running mate of the "Annapolis." None surpassed her for affection bestowed in the century long vogue for steamboats. As wide as she was long, she waddled along at a matronly gait and rode the Bay with queenly grace, her white sides gleaming, her gilt sparkling. The captain swore that she handled with the lightness of a feather. She docked at the present pier of Steamboat Landing Restaurant.
The first restaurant served only sandwiches to people waiting for the Emma Giles. It had several owners, including the marina owners. Now the Steamboat Landing Restaurant is luxurious from the polished mahogany to the imported Italian granite bar. The Policano family promises you one of the finest restaurants anywhere. They offer bayside dining with a panoramic view from any seat and an Italian flair, featuring the freshest seafood, finest steaks and innovative pasta dishes, specialties, all-natural frozen cocktails, espresso and cappuccino. They offer an outdoor deck for waterside dining, and 26 slips for diners plus the Bay's only gondola for charters docked by the pier. Open year round.
Captain Salem Avery House
The Captain Salem Avery House Museum welcomes guests with a view of the long work boat, "Edna Florence," a Deadrise, for fishing and oystering, built by Captain Perry Rogers in 1937. The house itself is a vernacular dwelling. Descended from a long line of watermen from New York, Captain Avery moved to Anne Arundel County to seek his fortune. He married a widow, Lucretia Weedon Andrews, in 1857 and moved his wife and two children into this new home on the West River in 1860. At that time, it consisted of one first floor room and two second floor bedrooms. The house was acquired by the National Masonic Hunting and Country Club in 1923. The first two presidents of the club were sons of the noted labor leader, Samuel Gompers. In 1989, the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society purchased the property and began the historically accurate restoration of the building and development of the museum.
A long front porch looks out on the lovely view of the river. The small front room to the right off the front porch is the oldest section. To the left in the kitchen, you will find many old cooking pots, such as a skillet used only for frying chicken. The pie safe is original and lined with newspapers, one of which is from 1896. Lucretia made rootbeer in a large crock. A smaller one has indentations for eggs. Also note the sausage maker, coffee urn and period bath tub, china safe of punched tin, and the butter churn.
The room had a loft for sleeping above it. A manual reclining chair was for salesmen to sleep in. A doorstop bears the family's initials. A coal stove was added later where the fireplace was once located. The narrow strairway to the upper level takes one to the master bedroom on the left. There, a leaf motif graces the headboard. Mattresses were made of corn cobs for the poor, straw for those of moderate income and down for the wealthy. The Averys were fairly comfortable for the times. Captain Avery did not fight in the war, since he was rated unfit for service, as he had no teeth to tear gun powder bags to fill his weapons. Note the Methodist hymnal, and the bed warmer, which one filled with hot coals and the fire screen under which people placed their feet.
The door from the master bedroom was the only door leading to the store house below. This insured against theft of supplies. A brick chimney heated the room from the fireplace below. A cradle is at the base of the bed, and a picture of Captain Avery's blonde son is in an oval frame. In the girls' room nearby, a leather doll was used for teething and is torn in a corner of its glovelike arm. The boys' room was to the rear down the hall.
The museum room, added later, is spacious, and a quilt show was on display the day of our tour. The room has exhibits of old fishing boat models. One boat, the Princess, was named after Captain Perry Roger's baby daughter, Amy. It is a Deadrise, similar to the actual boat outside, which welcomes one to this fascinating historic house museum. Hours: Sunday 1-4pm, March-December. Phone 410-867-4486.
Tulip Hill - South Anne Arundel County
Tulip Hill, one of the foremost examples of architectural genious in America, is on the National Register and was visited by George Washington. Overlooking the West River near Galesville, it was built in 1755-62 by the brickmaker and bricklayer John Deavour, for Samuel Galloway. The land was originally patented to Richard Talbot in 1659. Washington dined here twice in September 1771. Legend has it that Indians and pirates roamed these shores in early days, and a ghost story is attached to the house, one of our most beautifully preserved colonial homes in the nation.
Samuel Galloway, who had married Ann Chew, of the prominent Chew family, died in 1786, willing the house to his eldest son, John. At John's death his only child, Mary Maxey, whose husband was Minister to Belgium, inherited. She left Tulip Hill to her daughter, Ann Sarah Hughes, who sold it to Henry M. Murray in 1886 for $100.
Her son, Maxey Galloway Hughes, died in the Civil War in Houston, Texas in 1863. Perhaps, it is Maxey who rides his horse, laughing happily in the night air near his beloved Tulip Hill, glad to be home if only in spirit.
Henry Murray's wife, Mary H (Morris) Murray was a descendant of the builder of the house. Their son, Robert, lived there thirty years before his father sold the house and 50 acres to A. DuPont Parker of Denver, Colorado. Robert then moved into the house next door, Poplar Knoll. The Waysons purchased the property in 1992, as the family had owned the adjacent property near the shore in the 18th century.
Originally named for the luxuriant Tulip Poplar trees in the front yard, Tulip Hill was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. It is perfectly balanced on an axis, stretching from the front driveway which leads to the circular drive, through the central hallway, down past terraces to the lovely West River. A canopy of trees forms a walk past the terraces to the water, through marshland replete with waterfowl and deer. Twin Copper Beeches stand sentinel near the house in purple splendor. They are 400 years old and one was struck weakening only a part of it. The area is pervaded by a holiness near these ancient trees. On the ridges behind them a beautiful garden was created in 1930 and different flowers bloom in various seasons.
The story of a secret passage to the river seems conceivable, but this passage has not been found. The owners grant the possibility that a tunnel was underground in the gardens but doubt that it went all the way to the river.
On the first floor, the back garden door rises to a hood. A hall runs the depth of the house with a large double arch dividing it. The front half contains a corner cupboard. The other half contains the staircase, upon which one of the Galloways is said to have ridden his horse. The risers of it are a tall six inches with treads twelve inches wide, thus, it is possible. Architects have declared this to be one of the most beautiful staircases in existence.
A private cemetery with black gates marks the grave of the Maxey Secretary of State, who was killed by the blasting of a cannon on board the Princeton on the 28th of February, 1844 at a boat christening he attended with President Tyler in Washington. Samuel Galloway is buried here as is Ann Sarah Hughes an Ann Chew. Cypress trees, strange to this climate, grow tall here and pervade the atmosphere with shade of the old South. Perhaps other shades are present also from a time steeped in mystery and enchantment.
Tulip Hill is a private residence, not open to the public.
Oyster Boats ( from the Alice's Way cook book of Tulip Hill)
1 dozen baked tart shells (use shallow oval or boat-shaped tins if possible 2 pints salt water oysters 3 or 4 hard-boiled egg yolks, 4 Tbs. butter, bread crumbs, not to fine, mace, nutmeg, freshly ground pepper
Choose 24 fat oysters to broil. Chop remainder coarsely and put in stew pan with half their liquor. Let come to a boil and thicken with grated egg yolks. Enrich with pieces of butter rolled in bread crumbs and season to taste with mace, nutmeg and ground pepper plus a pinch of salt. Broil the oysters. Partly fill pastry boats with chopped oyster mixture and place two broiled oysters on each one. Sprinkle with a bit of parsley, if desired. Serve immediately as a good first course.
Eggplant fried in batter
1 medium eggplant, garlic salt, 1 egg, 1 cup flour 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1 cup milk
Pare eggplant and cut in thin slices. Sprinkle each slice lightly with garlic salt, stack in little piles on a platter and press under a weighted plate for 1/2 hour. Make a batter by beating the egg and stirring in the seasoned flour alternately with the milk. Beat until smooth and bubbly. Drain and dry eggplant, and dip each slice in batter. Fry brown and crisp in hot fat.
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