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Queen Anne’s County House and Garden Pilgrimage

May 4, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

The Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage in Queen Anne’s County, set for Saturday, May 4, includes eight significant 17th and 18th century properties, as well as other historic venues, each offering a unique perspective on the county’s rich and diverse history. Each will be enhanced with floral arrangements courtesy of the Queen Anne’s County Garden Club.

The homes are on tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first tour site for the day is located at 142 Carriage Heath in Chester where folks can purchase tour tickets. A portion of the tour proceeds will benefit St. Peter the Apostle Church Restoration Project. A small “Chapel House” was erected in 1765 and was later enlarged sometime before 1813. By 1819 plans were underway to replace it, given the rapidly growing congregation. A new church was built between 1823 and 1827. This church was enlarged again and rededicated in 1877. St. Peter’s relies on private donations to fund its preservation efforts. 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.

Properties on this year’s tour include:

Stoopley-Gibson Manor House

This property dates to 1656 and portions of the home were built in 1740 to 1780. It has never been on the homes tour. Of particular note is the original all-header bond brick on the south facade, common in Annapolis homes at that time; and the two-story north-facing veranda is reminiscent of Jefferson’s Monticello. The land can be traced to 1656 when John Gibson and Henry Stoupe patented 150 acres via a 1656 land grant. The gardens feature magnolia, holly, and multiple centenarian trees, including one of Maryland’s largest English boxwoods.

The Hermitage

This property dates to 1658, and the current house was started in 1700 and added on during the 1800s. 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 view toward the water includes many old and elegant trees, among them the second largest ginkgo tree in Maryland.

Kirwan House and General Store

The Kirwan House and General Store was built in 1879. The Victorian home 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. 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.

St. Peter the Apostle Church

This property dates to 1765, with the current structure built starting in 1827 and added on before 1877.  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 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.

Silk Farm

The Silk Farm property dates to 1665 and the current structure circa second quarter 18th century to present. 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. Significant outbuildings include an early 19th century log plank meat house and very fine old barn.

The Gunston School

The school’s Middleton House was built in 1890 and 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. A full restoration was completed in 2007. The school is a certified Maryland Green School 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 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.

A 1923 Sears Roebuck Kit House

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.

Kennard High School

Kennard High School, circa 1936, was the county’s first and only secondary school for African Americans and was named for Queen Anne’s County educator Lucretia Kennard Daniels (1871-1933). 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.

For advance ticket sales and information, contact Diana Pietrowiak at 443-223-1699 or Dot Abbott at 410-758-2071; or email 2019qachousetour@gmail.com. Ticket prices range from $35 to $40 depending on date purchased.


May 4, 2019
10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Queen Anne’s County
MD United States + Google Map
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