History buffs and students of architecture can plan now for the 54thMaryland Home and Garden Pilgrimage Anne Arundel County tour from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 20.
Regardless of weather, the tour will feature 15 houses and buildings built in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Tickets for the entire tour cost $15, with admission to individual homes $5 each.
The tour will feature privately owned homes: Holly Hill near Friendship; Portland Manor and The Lord's Bounty, near Bristol; Tulip Hill overlooking West River; Obligation and The Red House, near Harwood;Smith's Church, Christ Church and the Rectory, in Owensville; and the Bordley-Randall House in Annapolis.
Other houses included in thetour are: London Town Publik House and Gardens in Edgewater; Hammond-Harwood House, Chase-Lloyd House, William Paca House and the Governor's Mansion, in Annapolis.
Holly Hill, originally surveyed in 1663as Holland's Hills, is the oldest house in the state. Built in 1698 and completed about 1720, the house features huge fireplaces, vaultedcellars, early paneling and floors, and some of the original clapboard exterior.
Portland Manor was built by Colonel Henry Darnall, brother-in-law of Charles Calvert, third Lord Baltimore. The house, begun in the late 17th century, was finished in 1852. It is decorated with unusual art objects and furniture from Europe and Asia, including rubbings from the tombs at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Tulip Hill, probably the most visited private home in the history of the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage, was built in 1756 and designated as a Registered National Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. It is currently unfurnished.
Obligation was built in the late 18th centurynear the site where Lord Baltimore met William Penn in 1683 to discuss the boundaries of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
The Red House, a 100-year-old frame tenant house, is a telescope house, one room deep. The house is within view of Obligation farm.
Smith's Purchase, built in 1838 by Dr. James Murray, was occupied for almost a century by doctors. The painstakingly restored house features symmetric architecture, original interior woodwork, and doors with carpenter locks.
Christ Church was built in 1867 by Eleanor Hall Burwell as a memorialto her children and is listed on the Maryland Register of Historic Sites and Buildings. The Rectory was constructed in the 1870s and remains much the same as when it was built.
Bordley-Randall House was constructed in 1715 by Thomas Bordley, an eminent attorney, and addedto in 1847 by Alexander Randall, a bank president. The house, once owned by St. John's College, was sold to Captain and Mrs. Philip Van Horn Weems, whose descendants, Philip and Susan Dodd, now own the house. "The house, in a way, belongs to all of the descendants who have lived here for the past 275 years," said Susan Dodd.
The house was featured in the 1990 Designer Showcase for Anne Arundel Medical Center Auxiliary and drew over 6,000 visitors during the month of October.
The Governor's Mansion, open only from 2 to 4 p.m.; was built during the administration of Thomas Swann, 1865-1869, and remodeled intoa five-art Colonial Revival mansion in 1935.
Rules for the tour include no smoking, pets, food or drinks in the homes. Also, high heels are forbidden because they can damage old wooden floors.
A lunchwill be served in the Parish Hall of Christ Church in Owensville from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch costs $6. Reservations for large groupsshould be made in advance, call 867-0346 or 967-2443. General tour information: 821-6933.