Holiday to focus on history


June 28, 1999|By Jeff Holland | Jeff Holland,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE FOURTH OF JULY has to be one of my favorite holidays, ranking right up there with Thanksgiving and Groundhog Day. I get a big kick out of watching the fireworks light up the sky over Annapolis Harbor. Several events happening over the weekend will help you get in the proper patriotic mood to celebrate our independence.

Don't miss "Annapolis: the Pageant" at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Sharie Valerio is directing the 90-minute music-filled program, and the cast from her "Annapolis I Remember" productions will portray characters from the 350 years of this area's remarkable history.

I wrote the script based on a timeline from Historic Annapolis Foundation and other resources.

Greg Stiverson, executive director of the Historic London Town House and Garden, reviewed the script and congratulated me on getting as many as two or three facts straight in the 72 pages of dialogue. I reminded him of Mark Twain's quote about not letting the facts get in the way of a good story. Tickets are $10. Information: 410-263-5544.

On Sunday, Stiverson will speak on the significance of Annapolis' four signers of the Declaration of Independence at a ceremony at St. Anne's Church. Canon Arthur Middleton, a historian and author on Maryland and Anglican history, will also address the audience. Mayor Dean L. Johnson will help dedicate a plaque honoring the signers, three of whom were parishioners at the church. The public is invited to this ecumenical ceremony, and refreshments will be served in the church yard.

Among the VIPs in attendance will be actors from the pageant portraying the four signers -- William Paca, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone and Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

Then visitors can take a free tour of the Charles Carroll House behind St. Mary's Church on Duke of Gloucester Street. Carroll was the only Catholic signer of the declaration. Guided tours will be offered from noon to 3 p.m., when Mayor Johnson will join state Sen. John C. Astle for a patriotic ceremony. Astle sits in Carroll's original 1776 Maryland senatorial district seat. An actor portraying Carroll's father, Charles Carroll of Annapolis, will be there.

Just to get them all straight: Charles Carroll of Carrollton was the son of Charles Carroll of Annapolis, whose father was Charles Carroll the settler.

The Charles Carroll who signed the Declaration of Independence signed his name as "Charles Carroll of Carrollton," not to withhold his address in case King George wanted to find him, but to keep from being confused with all the other Charles Carrolls. If you're still confused, go see the pageant.

The Annapolis City Parade starts at 6: 30 p.m. Sunday. Tom Roskelly, the city's public information officer, is once again organizing this annual, old-fashioned patriotic community event. It starts at St. John's College, runs down College Avenue, around Church Circle, down Main Street, and on to Gate 1 at the Naval Academy to end at Farragut Field. That will be a great spot to watch the fireworks, scheduled to start about 9: 15 p.m.

While you're downtown, stop by the Historic Annapolis Museum Store at the foot of Main Street and pick up a copy of Glenn Campbell's new guidebook, "Revolutionary Annapolis." The book leads you on a walking tour in the footsteps of William Paca through the Historic District as it was from 1762 to 1783.

Sites include the "townhouse" Paca built on Prince George Street, plus other historic house museums, state buildings, private homes and waterfront taverns that he visited.

Paca, is one of those enigmatic characters of history. Not many people know much more about him than that he was one of the signers of the Declaration, but he was one of the principal architects of Maryland's independence movement, and was elected as the third governor of Maryland in 1782.

As the education coordinator for the Historic Annapolis Foundation, Campbell delights in bringing Paca to life on the streets where he lived.

"Because of Annapolis' distinctive street plan and the community's preservation of so many historic buildings," he says, "William Paca would have no problem finding his way around the city today."

"Revolutionary Annapolis" is available for $4.50 at the Museum Store and at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Annapolis Harbor Center. Campbell will give a lecture about his research for the book at Barnes & Noble at 7 p.m. on July 8.

Information: 410-267-7619.

Pub Date: 6/28/99

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