Maryland Day: A Roundup of the Most Interesting Historic Spots in Each County

03/25/2022
By Preservation Maryland

Maryland Day is the anniversary of when the first European settlers landed in Maryland. They disembarked from ships called the Ark and the Dove and landed on St. Clement’s Island in St. Mary’s County on March 25th, 1634. Marylanders began celebrating the anniversary in 1903 when the State Board of Education declared the day an important one in Maryland’s history. In 1916, Maryland Day became a legal state holiday. Today Preservation Maryland is celebrating Maryland Day by featuring our state’s 23 counties and one independent city. Read below for a unique historic place to visit in each county.

Allegany County:

George Washington’s Headquarters

Located in Cumberland, this log cabin was home to George Washington during the French and Indian War. The cabin was built by General Edward Braddock’s men for colonel Washington during the conflict; Washington used it then and once again in 1794. The cabin itself is closed to the public, but visitors can walk the grounds to learn more about the history of the structure.

GW Headquarters. Via Visit Maryland.

Anne Arundel County:

Historic London Town and Gardens

London Town was founded in 1683 as the seat of Anne Arundel County. Buildings and businesses opened up as the town grew during the colonial era. Today, visitors to London Town in Edgewater can tour the William Brown House, Carpenter Shop, Lord Mayor’s Tenement, kitchen garden, ropewalk, and tobacco barn.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Anne Arundel County is also home to the Burtis House, the last remaining waterman’s cottage in Annapolis. As part of our Historic Property Redevelopment Program, Preservation Maryland is taking on a leading role in a dynamic climate resiliency project at City Dock, overseeing the stabilization and elevation of the historic structure. 

Baltimore City:

Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum

The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum is a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can tour the home of the acclaimed Baltimore poet by appointment only. The house is expertly preserved as the original fabric that lined the walls from when Poe lived there (1833-1835) still remains. Exhibits in the house speak about Edgar Allan Poe’s life and death in Baltimore.

Credit: LOC

Baltimore County

Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum

Located on Oella Avenue in Baltimore, the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum tells the story of Benjamin Banneker, a sixteenth-century mathematician, astronomer, abolition advocate, and much more. He is oftentimes considered the first African American man of science. There is a colonial log cabin, restored 19th-century farmhouse, and herb garden in the park.

https://friendsofbenjaminbanneker.com

Calvert County:

Calvert Marine Museum

This museum exhibits the history of the Chesapeake Bay as it relates to the Calvert County area. It has displays on the first Indigenous Peoples’ interactions with the water, the colonial settlers’ impact on the land, and tools used by the various inhabitants of the region over the years.

Caroline County:

Museum of Rural Life

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This museum, located in Denton, discusses the significance of agriculture in Caroline County’s history. There are four historic houses that visitors can explore: the Taylor-Brown House, Painter’s Range, Chance’s Desire, and Skillington’s Right. All the houses were built towards the end of the eighteenth century.

Carroll County:

Carroll County Almshouse and Farm

Also called the Carroll County Farm Museum, this historic farm consists of 15 houses. While some of the buildings were used for residence, others were used as a blacksmith, a smokehouse, and an ice house. The Almshouse was founded in 1852 and the Farm museum opened in 1965. Visitors can find this historic farm complex in Westminster, Maryland.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Mike Van Ells.

Cecil County:

John F. DeWitt Military Museum

Located in Elkton, the John F. DeWitt Military Museum houses military memorabilia from the Revolutionary War up to Desert Storm. The museum is named after Sheriff John F. DeWitt, who collected military items for much of his life. The museum is now run by the Historical Society of Cecil County.

Charles County:

Thomas Stone National Historic Site

The Thomas Stone National Historic Site — also called Haberdeventure — was home to Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Stone bought the plot of land in 1770; construction of a house began soon later. The house was occupied by the Stone family until 1936 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1971. Guided tours of the site are available on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Dorchester County:

Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center

Preservation Maryland staff at the new mural of Harriet Tubman in Cambridge, MD, 2019.

This museum is a tribute to Harriet Tubman and her life. Located in Cambridge, Maryland, the museum tells the story of Tubman’s courage and bravery as she operated on the Underground Railroad. It also houses a beautiful mural of the abolitionist. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday.

Frederick County:

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Located in Frederick, Maryland, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine displays the tools and practices used by doctors and nurses during the Civil War. The museum came about after husband and wife Gordon and Karen Dammann collected civil war artifacts for many years. They later turned their collection into the museum that now exists in Frederick County; the doors were first opened to the public in 1996.

Garrett County:

James Drane House

The James Drane House, which resides in Accident, Maryland, was constructed in 1798 by Colonel William Lamar. It was the first log structure built in the town. The Colonel gave the house to his sister Pricilla and her husband, James Drane, both of whom were the first settlers in Accident. The James Drane House was last occupied in 1952, and in 1985, it entered the National Register of Historical Places. Reconstruction began soon after and the dedication for the restored house was held on September 24, 1994. Tours of the James Drane House are available by appointment.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Harford County:

Historic Jerusalem Mill Village

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Historic Jerusalem Mill Village is located in Kingsville, Maryland. The village consists of Grist Mill, Miller’s House, Blacksmith Forge, Tenant House, McCourtney’s General Store, Jerusalem Mansion, Bank Barn, Springhouse, two-story Smokehouse/Dairy, and another residence. All the buildings were constructed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and were once run by a Quaker community.

 

Howard County:

Ellicott City Firehouse Museum

Located in Historic Ellicott City, this museum details the history of fires in Ellicott City. It explores how firemen fought fires in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The original firehouse was built in 1889 for $500, and over the years, the building moved. It became a museum — thanks to the efforts of numerous groups — in 1991.

Historic Firehouse, Ellicott City, Maryland

Kent County:

Massey Air Museum

The mission of the Massey Air Museum is “to preserve for public enjoyment and education the history of small town grassroots aviation in the United States.” The museum resides in Massey, Maryland. There are many small aircrafts that visitors can examine, and planes are flown at the airport outside the building even today. The museum also restores antique aircraft.

Montgomery County:

C&O Canal National Historical Park

Spanning 184.5 miles, the C&O Canal National Historic Park is open year-round to visitors. The canal was one of the first large-scale civil engineering projects in the country. The park has been open for more than 50 years, after President Eisenhower made it a National Monument in 1961. There are ample opportunities for hiking, walking, touring, and learning at this historical park.

Great Falls Tavern, now the C&O Canal visitor center. Photo from the National Park Service.

Great Falls Tavern, now the C&O Canal visitor center. Photo from the National Park Service.

Prince George’s County:

Marietta House Museum

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This house once belonged to Supreme Court Justice Gabriel Duvall and is located in Glenn Dale, Maryland. The museum exhibits the history of multiple generations — both free and enslaved — spanning from the Federal Era to the Civil Rights Era. The grounds and library are open to the public. The mission statement of the group is to nurture “social justice advocacy through understanding current social inequities and their historical origins.”

Queen Anne’s County:

James E Kirwan House

Located in Chester on Kent Island, this house was once home to James E. Kirwan, a Maryland State Senator. Kirwan served from 1900 to 1908. The house, with the store next door, was the middle ground for trade as coal and lumber were transported through the Chester and Dominion communities to other locations. Kirwan’s granddaughter granted the house to the Kent Island Heritage Society. The house now runs as a museum.

St. Mary’s County:

St. Clement’s Island Museum

This museum resides on the island where the first European settlers arrived in Maryland. The St. Clement’s Island Museum tells the history of the English settlers who left Europe to escape political and religious persecution; it also tells the story of how the First Lord Baltimore led those settlers to make a colony. Also detailed is the passage of the Ark and Dove as the two ships sailed across the Atlantic to reach Maryland. The museum is open daily.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Somerset County:

Teackle Mansion

Located in Princess Anne, Maryland, Teackle Mansion is a nineteenth-century estate. Built in the Neoclassical style, the mansion housed some of the wealthiest individuals on the Eastern Shore. The venue is mainly used for weddings and meetings, but visitors can still tour the mansion on the weekends to get an understanding of the life lived by the wealthy eighteenth-century inhabitants.

Talbot County:

Classic Motor Museum

The CMM exhibits the history of America’s automobile innovation. The museum resides in St. Michaels, Maryland. Unique automobiles displayed in the museum include a child-friendly 1931 American LaFrance Firetruck, a 1917 Maxwell, a 1969 Boss 429 Mustang, and much more. The Exhibit Barn, which houses the cars, was completed in 2014.

Washington County

Antietam National Battlefield

Burnside Bridge in 1862, Antietam National Battlefield.

The Antietam National Battlefield resides in Sharpsburg, Maryland. It was the location of the bloodiest day of battle during the Civil War. Visitors to the battlefield can hike some of the various trails or learn more about the history of the war by touring the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, Dunker Church, or National Cemetery.

Washington County is also home to our Historic Property Redevelopment project 417 North Jonathan Street, a historic circa 1830s small log home in the heart of the historic Jonathan Street community of Hagerstown. 

Wicomico County

Poplar Hill Mansion

A public property of Salisbury, Maryland, the Poplar Hill Mansion is a historic house and museum. Poplar Hill is a remnant of eighteenth-century Salisbury, as the museum exhibits different artifacts from the Federal Era. The Keeping Room, the Parlor, the Smokehouse, and Dr. Huston’s Surgery room are but some of the rooms available for tours. Poplar Hill is open from Friday to Sunday.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Worcester County:

Furnace Town

Reopening April 1, 2022, the Furnace Town Historic Site encompasses the Nassawango Iron Furnace. The furnace was used by miners, sawyers, colliers, molders, draymen, and bargemen in the early 1800s. The town granted jobs to hundreds of workers at the furnace. Although the site decayed in the subsequent decades, restoration began in the 1960s. A group called Furnace Town Foundation Inc. was formed in 1982 to run and manage the historic site.

 

Content for this blog was researched and compiled by Allyn Lawrence, Preservation Maryland’s Spring 2022 Public History and Communications Intern. Working through the Waxter Intern Program, Allyn composes articles on topics relating to Maryland’s history and culture. She is a recent graduate of Towson University.

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