“Annapolis may still be called ‘the finished city,’ and those who love her quaint old streets, her well-shaded gardens and her dark red walls of brick, can see in them something which no other city in this land affords.”
– Henry Randall (1869-1905), Architect, Annapolis Native
Annapolis enjoyed what’s been called its “golden age” from the late 1750s to 1776. At the time, the town was described by Jonathan Boucher, rector of St. Anne’s Church in 1772, as the “genteelest town in North America.” Annapolis served both as the county seat and Maryland’s capital throughout this period. During legislative sessions, its streets, inns, and houses were filled with prosperous plantation owners, merchants, politicians, sailors, craftsmen, and free African Americans. In contrast, servants worked off their indenture, or terms of service, and the enslaved population toiled to support a tobacco-based economy. Today, walking the brick streets of the Historic District that is downtown Annapolis, the voices of this diverse and multilayered heritage can still be heard while exploring the original buildings of the “golden age.” The social lives of the period’s Annapolis elite have long faded into history, but the architectural grandeur of the time still survives for us to enjoy.