Maryland: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

In many ways, Maryland is a microcosm of much of the United States, combining elements from the north, south, east, and west. Physically located in the middle of the English colonies, it was the center state of the new nation and thus the logical site for a capital, which is located in the District of Columbia.

Baltimore and Ohio Transportation Museum and Mount Clare Station

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, science and technology

Statement of significance: At the Mount Clare Station, regular passenger rail service in the United States was inaugurated in 1830. The nation’s first telegraph message passed through the station in 1844. The Roundhouse contains the historical collections of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Carson House

Location: Silver Spring, Montgomery County

Relevant issues: Health and medicine, science and technology, social reform

Statement of significance: From 1956 to 1964, this was the home of Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964), biologist, naturalist, writer, and poet. Carson was already famous when she wrote Silent Spring (1962), a book many consider to have changed the way Americans think about their natural environment and which is responsible for beginning the modern environmental movement. Silent Spring drew popular attention to the poisoning of the earth and the endangerment of public safety by the indiscriminate use of modern chemical pesticides and herbicides.

Chambers Farm

Location: Westminster, Carroll County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: This was the home of Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961), an ex-Communist whose revelations about his past espionage activities with Alger Hiss, a former State Department official, had major political repercussions after World War II. Here Chambers turned over the Pumpkin Papers implicating Hiss and later wrote Witness (1952), his best-selling autobiography.

Chestertown Historic District

Location: Bounded by the Chester River, Cannon St., Maple Ave., and Cross St., Chestertown, Kent County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: This district flourished between 1750 and 1790 as the chief tobacco- and wheat-shipping port on the eastern shore of Maryland. Wealthy merchants and planters constructed the elaborate brick Georgian townhouses found in the district.

Constellation

Location: Pier 1, Pratt Street, Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Military history, naval history

Web site: www.constellation.org

Statement of significance: Among the longest commissioned vessels in the U.S. Navy, Constellation was the first American ship to engage and defeat an enemy vessel.

Edna E. Lockwood

Location: St. Michaels, Talbot County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, naval history

Statement of significance: Edna E. Lockwood is the last Chesapeake Bay bugeye to retain its sailing rig and working appearance, and it is the only unaltered representative of the fleet which once harvested the Chesapeake oyster fishery. Its maritime architectural significance is vested in its multi-log hull, one of the largest in existence; this unusual log or “chunk” style of shipbuilding was practiced nowhere else in the world. Edna E. Lockwood was built in 1889 by master boat builder John B. Harrison, probably at Chicken Point, for Daniel W. Haddaway of Tilghman Island. It dredged every oyster season from 1889 to 1967.

Fort Frederick

Location: Big Pool, Washington County

Relevant issues: European settlement, military history, Revolutionary War

Statement of significance: This is the southern colonies’ largest and best preserved architectural example of an eighteenth century frontier fort erected for frontier defense against Indians. It sheltered some seven hundred people during the 1763 Pontiac War, and from 1777 to 1783, it served as a prisoner-of-war camp for captured British and German soldiers during the War for Independence.

Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory

Location: Gaithersburg, Montgomery County

Relevant issues: Science and technology

Statement of significance: This observatory is one of six observatories located in the United States, Russia, Japan, and Italy which are associated with an important and long-lived program of international scientific cooperation. The International Polar Motion Service, established in 1899 by the International Geodetic Association, was a cooperative effort among scientists from around the world to study the earth’s wobble on its rotational axis. Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory was established in 1899.

Greenbelt Historic District

Location: Greenbelt, Prince George’s County

Relevant issues: Cultural history

Statement of significance: The development of Greenbelt from 1935 to 1946 represents the first government-sponsored planned community in the United States built on “garden city” principles and embodies the regional planning principles and architectural ideals of the mid-1930’s. Three “greenbelt towns” were built by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal government along garden city lines to respond to the Depression and a housing crisis in American cities. Greenbelt, the first and largest of the three towns, was an attempt to build a large-scale, scientifically planned suburban community that would decentralize the population of Washington, D.C.

Kennedy Farm

Location: Samples Manor, Washington County

Relevant issues: Civil War, political history

Statement of significance: This farm appears substantially as it did when John Brown (1800-1859), abolitionist leader, planned and led his 1859 raid on the Harpers Ferry armory and arsenal from here.

Lightship No. 116 “Chesapeake”

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: The 1930 Lightship No. 116, now known by its former designation, Chesapeake, is the best-preserved example of a generation of lightships designed to be powered by diesel-electric plants. Known as the 113-Foot Class, these were the last lightships built by the U.S. Lighthouse Service before it was absorbed into the U.S. Coast Guard. In addition to serving the Fenwick, Chesapeake, and Delaware stations, No. 116 served as an examination vessel off Cape Cod and helped protect the important port of Boston during World War II. Owned by the National Park Service, No. 116 is on a twenty-five-year loan to the city of Baltimore and is operated as a floating exhibit.

Mencken House

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: This typical three-story Baltimore row house was the home of journalist-editor H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), distinguished essayist and caustic critic of American society, from his childhood until his death in 1956.

Monocacy Battlefield

Location: Frederick, Frederick County

Relevant issues: Civil War, military history

Statement of significance: Confederates under General Jubal T. Early repulsed Union troops commanded by General Lew Wallace here in July, 1864. Wallace’s troops delayed Early’s forces, though, giving the Union Army time to prepare a defense of Washington, D.C., saving it from Confederate capture.

Peale’s Baltimore Museum

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Cultural history

Statement of significance: This was the first building in the United States designed and erected exclusively for museum use. It now houses exhibits covering the history of Baltimore.

Phoenix Shot Tower

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: This is one of a very few shot towers left in the United States. Shot was manufactured by dropping molten lead from this fourteen-story tower through a sievelike device into a vat of cold water. Some one million bags of shot were produced yearly in this way. It was the tallest structure in the United States until work was resumed on the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia after the Civil War.

Poe House

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) occupied this house (1833-1835) at a time when his short stories were beginning to attract favorable critical attention.

Riversdale Mansion

Location: 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale, Prince George’s County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture, education

Web site: www.inform.umd.edu/UMS+State/MD_Resources/counties/PG/PG300/mncppc/ riversdale.html

Statement of significance: Dating from the beginning of the nineteenth century, Riversdale is one of the last of Maryland’s great five-part Palladian mansions. Of stuccoed brick, it was built for Belgium émigré Henri Joseph Stier and was for a time the repository of the Stier family’s collection of Old World master paintings, the most outstanding collection of its type in the country at the time. Riversdale is also significant for its association with Charles Benedict Calvert, Stier’s grandson. Calvert helped establish the Maryland Agricultural College on part of the extensive Riversdale acreage and was instrumental in the establishment of the federal-level Bureau of Agriculture, now the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Riversdale, now restored, is open to the public as a historic house museum.

Rowland House

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Education, science and technology

Statement of significance: This was the home of Henry Augustus Rowland (1848-1901), America’s best-known and most accomplished nineteenth century physicist. Rowland’s most important contribution was in the area of electromagnetism, most particularly in the area of spectrum analysis. He also shaped the Johns Hopkins Physics Department into a model which spread to the other universities across the country.

Saint Mary’s City Historic District

Location: St. Mary’s City, St. Mary’s County

Relevant issues: European settlement

Statement of significance: This was the capital of the Maryland Colony until 1695 and the third permanent English settlement in America. Foundations of some sixty buildings remain for archaeological study.

Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital and Gate House

Location: Towson, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Health and medicine

Statement of significance: This is a leading private institution for the treatment of the mentally ill. The hospital buildings, dramatic Norman Revival structures, mark an important stage in psychiatric planning because they provide for separation of patients according to the nature of their illnesses.

Sion Hill

Location: Havre de Grace, Harford County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: Situated on a gentle hill with a panoramic view of Havre de Grace and the point at which the Susquehanna broadens to form the Chesapeake, this brick mansion was the seat of the seafaring Rodgers family, the most notable of American naval families. Their generations-long careers cover the world and affect virtually every aspect of American naval history from the presidency of Thomas Jefferson to the New Deal.

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Cultural history, military history

Statement of significance: The flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the British attack in 1814 was made here and inspired Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Thomas Point Shoal Light Station

Location: Annapolis, Anne Arundel County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: Thomas Point Shoal Light Station is the last unaltered screwpile, cottage-type lighthouse on its original foundation in the United States. Screwpile foundation technology greatly improved the aids to navigation system in that it allowed lighthouses to be built in offshore locations that previously could be marked only by buoys or expensive lightships. As many as one hundred spiderlike screwpile lighthouses were built throughout the Carolina sounds, the Chesapeake Bay, and Delaware Bay; along the Gulf of Mexico; and even at Maumee Bay on Lake Erie in Ohio. Replacing an onshore station in 1875, the Thomas Point Shoal Light Station continues to serve as an active aid to navigation maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Torsk

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Military history, naval history, World War II

Statement of significance: A World War II Tench class submarine that sank two Japanese coastal defense ships on August 14, 1945, Torsk is credited with firing the last two torpedoes and sinking the last combatant ships of the war. After the war, Torsk’s operations as a training vessel helped it establish a world record of 11,884 dives.

Welch House

Location: Baltimore, Baltimore County

Relevant issues: Health and medicine

Statement of significance: This was the home (1891-1908) of the distinguished Johns Hopkins professor William Henry Welch (1850-1934), who transformed American medical research and teaching and became known as the dean of American medical science.

William B. Tennison

Location: Solomons, Calvert County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, naval history

Web site: www.nps.gov/history/maritime/nhl/tennison.htm

Statement of significance: Built in 1899 by master carpenter Frank Laird near Oriole, Maryland, William B. Tennison is the last bugeye oyster buy-boat on Chesapeake Bay. It represents one of the first bugeyes to be converted to power and one of the few log-hulled vessels left in the world. William B. Tennison was a part of the sailing oyster dredge fleet of the Chesapeake; the bugeye type dredged more oysters than any other vessel type in the world. As the oyster harvest on the Chesapeake began to wane, the smaller, easier-to-handle, and cheaper-to-build skipjack became popular, replacing the bugeye. Buy-boats bought the catch off these skipjacks; in the off season, the buy-boats were used to haul produce, lumber, and even livestock to markets in Baltimore, Norfolk, Richmond, and Washington, D.C.

Categories: History Content