Annapolis Walking Tour
This short walking tour includes some of the historical markers and landmarks of the city, including the museum of the US Naval Academy.
The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis commemorates the place of arrival of esteemed author Alex Haley’s ancestor, Kunta Kinte. The memorial includes plaques that line the sidewalks for visitors to interact with and stands as the only memorial in the United States that commemorates the point of arrival of an enslaved African. The memorial was commissioned by the mayor of Annapolis, Richard Hillman in 1981. This occurred shortly after Haley’s critically acclaimed novel, Roots opened the eyes of people around the world to the role the city of Annapolis played in the story of the slave trade.
Located in a historic 18th-century structure, the Museum of Historic Annapolis offers a variety of exhibits near the waterfront at Annapolis Harbor. After a fire broke out in 1790, destroying many of the waterfront buildings, German immigrant Frederick Grammar built a new brick building at this location. Originally constructed as a commercial property and later known as the Sign o' the Whale Building, this brick structure became a private residence during the nineteenth century. In the 1950s, the condition of the againg building had deteriorated, and the City of Annapolis ordered the property to be demolished. In response, preservationists from Historic Annapolis spread awareness of the building's historic value and raised funds that allowed them to purchase the property and finance its restoration for adaptive reuse. The property housed the Sports & Specialities Shop in the 1960s, followed by the Sign o' the Whale gift shop in the 1970s. The preservation of the property helped to initiate the restoration of the entire Annapolis waterfront area. In the early 2000s, the building was again repurposed and became the site of a local history museum operated by Historic Annapolis. The museum features a permanent exhibit titled, "Annapolis: An American Story."
The Maynard-Burgess House is a historical site that stands as a symbol of African-American heritage. It also stands as a testament to the pride and the resilience of its occupants, an African-American family that lived free long before the Civil War. The home is believed to have been built in the early part of the 19th century and was home to several generations of two Black families until 1990. The home fell into disrepair and is currently the property of the city of Annapolis which has appointed a team of historic preservationists to restore the home and save this landmark location from utter dilapidation. The hope is that once restorations are complete, the home will serve as a museum, one that contributes immensely to the understanding of the history and architecture of the city of Annapolis.
The Banneker-Douglass Museum, formerly known as the Mt. Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church, was originally built in 1875 and then renovated and officially completed on February 24, 1984. “The Victorian-Gothic structure was included in the Annapolis Historic District in 1971 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.” The museum just celebrated 30 years of operation back in February of this year; it is a must-see museum filled with historical and prestigious displays. In honor of Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, the museum also exhibits the lives of other famous Maryland residents who devoted their time to the advocacy of anti-slavery and racism.
Asbury United Methodist dates back to 1803, when seven free African Americans purchased land from Smith Price. This group attracted other people of faith who worshiped in a small wooden building until, 1838 when the congregation built their first brick church. That modest structure was later was replaced with a three-story brick church in 1880’s. The historic church is working to create a small museum to include exhibits of significant artifacts, documents, and photographs.
The House by the "Town Gates" is a two and a half story Federal style historic home, which was built circa 1830. Initially constructed as a private home, the first floor windows on the northern facade were replaced by storefront windows in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Thereafter, the building has housed many different commercial tenants on the ground level. Although the original brickwork is covered by multiple layers of paint, it remains partly visible on the northwestern corner. A small cobblestone alley on the building's west side is also visible. It is the only remaining example of an undisturbed cobblestone alley in the City of Annapolis. The House by the "Town Gates" was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 19, 1973.
The Maryland State House is located in Annapolis and is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use, dating to 1779. The State House was designed by Joseph Horatio Anderson, and construction began in 1772, however, it was delayed due to the American Revolution. The cupola on top of the building was constructed in replacement for the earlier one in 1794. After the American Revolution, Annapolis was the first peacetime Capitol of the United States. The Continental Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber from November 26, 1783, to August 13, 1784. On January 14, 1784, the 1783 Treaty of Paris was ratified in Annapolis, bringing an official end to the Revolutionary War. A 1902-1905 addition by Baldwin and Pennington added new chambers for the Senate and House of Delegates.
Located at the courtyard of the Maryland State House from 1872 until 2017 the Roger Taney Monument commemorated Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney. A controversial figure in American history, Taney is best known for authoring the majority opinion on Dred Scott vs. Sandford (1857), known as the Dred Scott decision--asserting that Black people, whether slave or free, could not be United States citizens. Taney also claimed that the Missouri Compromise, which restricted the expansion of slavery, was unconstitutional because in his opinion, it violated the property rights of slave owners to take the human beings they owned under the system of chattel slavery into northern states the same as they might any other piece of property. The statue of Taney was removed in August 2017. According to Maryland governor Larry Hogan's statement, "the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history."
The Thurgood Marshall Memorial Statue, erected in 1996 by the state of Maryland, was commissioned by Governor Parris Glendening and sculptured by Maryland sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez. Mendez was one of several artists who took part in a national design competition put together by the state of Maryland (his winning design is included below). The statue stands as a tribute to the great civil rights leader and jurist, one of the 20th century’s most noted advocates for equal rights under the law. The statue is situated in State House Square, a square that was named to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Within the square is a chronology of the important events in Marshall’s remarkable life.
Constructed in the early 19th century, this simple, wood-frame dwelling with a gambrel roof is notable for being one of the few remaining examples in Annapolis of a style of home that was once common throughout the area. This type of modest row housing was common during the Revolutionary period and the early nineteenth century. During the Revolutionary War, for instance, the new state government converted buildings that looked much like this one from their primary use as inexpensive rental housing into military barracks for new recruits. The nickname "Hogshead" derived from this use as temporary housing, similar to the storage of goods during transit in a type of wooden barrel called a "hogshead." Today, the building is open to the public as a living history museum. Interpreters are dressed in period attire, and they provide information about what life was like in colonial times, while also highlighting the site as the everyday home of an artisan or craftsman. The property is managed by the organization Historic Annapolis.
This home was constructed by free and enslaved laborers for James Brice starting in 1767. Brice became the mayor of Annapolis in the 1780s and later served on Maryland's Executive Council which led to him serving as the acting Governor of Maryland in 1792. Brice's father, a colonial-era judge, designed the home. The home stayed in the family for over a century and then passed to organizations such as St. John’s College. The state acquired the structure in 2014 and it is currently operated as the headquarters of Historic Annapolis.
Built in the early 1760s, the William Paca house was home to the third governor of Maryland. William Paca was one of four Maryland colonists who signed the Declaration of Independence. The Historic Annapolis Foundation restored the mansion in the 1960s and offers guided tours of the home and its garden. Visitors to the house can view historic artwork and furnishings, and enjoy a number of interpretive exhibits that offer a rare glimpse into the late colonial period and early statehood.
Three-story brick Georgian mansion dating from 1769-1774. ts construction was started for Samuel Chase, who would later be a signatory to the Declaration of Independence and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. However, later, Chase would sale the building unfinished to Edward Lloyd IV in 1771.
This museum dates back to 1845 and is operated by the U.S Naval Academy to preserve and share the history of the Academy with the public. The museum includes exhibits on three levels that guide visitors through a chronological tour of the Academy's history. These exhibits also include special thematic displays that explore topics that reflect the larger history of the US Navy and important themes in American history. In addition to these exhibits, the Naval Academy Museum maintains models of historic vessels and displays dedicated to various deployments and wars.
In 1941, the Harvard Lacrosse team arrived at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland for a scheduled match. Upon seeing that the team was racially integrated, the Naval Academy's superintendent refused to allow them to play. Harvard's team decided that they would willingly forfeit but after talking with the coach, the only Black player on the team decided to go home and allow the match to go on.
Located on the United States Naval Academy campus, this monument commemorates the servicemembers who participated in the First Barbary Wars. The Tripoli Monument was carved in 1806 in Italy before being brought to the Washington Navy Yard in 1808 and moved to the US Capitol building in 1831. In 1860, the monument was moved to the United States Naval Academy. The First Barbary War was fought off the Mediterranean coast of Tripoli between 1801-1805 in response to pirates from the Barbary States who seized American merchant vessels and held crew members for ransom. President Thomas Jefferson initially refused to pay the ransom to the pirates. Instead, he sent American forces to the region in an ambitious plan to reshape control of the region.
The historic Flag House Inn is comprised of two townhouse style buildings, which were built in 1879 by a Welsh immigrant, Richard Owen Williams. Each of these buildings initially served as a boarding house for young women. Later, the two boarding houses were converted into private residences before they were jointly purchased in the 1990s and converted into a bed and breakfast. Marty and Carmel Etzel, the current owners of the Flag House Inn, maintain a comprehensive collection of flags from around the world. The particular flags that they display on the front porch each week are representative of their changing roster of guests. In addition, the inn's name is also a nod to the Flag House Museum in nearby Baltimore, which celebrates Francis Scott Key's penning of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The Annapolis City Dock is part of a bustling waterfront area that became known as the "historic heart of Annapolis" following the designation of downtown Annapolis as a National Historic District in 1965. Established as early as 1634, by the end of the seventeenth century it served as an important port within the Chesapeake Bay region for commercial shipping and trade. The wharf area expanded in conjunction with the growth of industry in the eighteenth century, followed by rapid urban industrialization in the nineteenth century particularly at the end of the Civil War. This pattern of growth and expansion continued into the first decades of the twentieth century, and Annapolis City Dock still remains part of an essential commercial area today. With quaint shops and restaurants lining the waterfront, it is also a popular tourist destination.