Candlelight tour will illuminate Annapolis' history


October 29, 2001|By Sue du Pont | Sue du Pont,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AS A LIFELONG resident of downtown Annapolis, Abby Hutchinson has a real appreciation for the city's history and its varied architecture.

So when Historic Annapolis Foundation asked her and her husband, Jamie, if they would open their Murray Hill home for its 10th annual Annapolis by Candlelight tour of houses, they were delighted.

"We love the area and really appreciate what Historic Annapolis has done for the city," Abby Hutchinson said. "We go on the house tour every year and love to see what other houses are like inside, so I was more than happy to open our house. It is an easy and fun way for us to help."

This year's tour will feature 10 private homes in the Murray Hill neighborhood. Historic Annapolis Foundation President Brian Alexander said the annual showcase provides participants with an opportunity to experience 21st- century living within three centuries of architecture.

"Each of the houses featured on the tour has a story to tell in terms of history, architecture and interior design," he said. "We are grateful to the homeowners who have so graciously consented to open their homes."

Murray Hill is primarily a residential community built almost wholly in the 20th century. The neighborhood's wide lots, deep setbacks and variety of housing styles and sizes distinguish it from the urban 18th- and 19th-century neighborhoods more typical of downtown Annapolis. Development of Murray Hill took off in the early 1900s with the construction of the hospital on Franklin Street and a major expansion of the Naval Academy.

The neighborhood features large, elegant houses built for the professional and military elite and smaller, comparatively simple dwellings erected for the speculative market. Architectural styles found in Murray Hill include American and Dutch Colonial, Queen Anne, Shingle, Prairie, Craftsman, Tudor, Italian Renaissance and even some mail-order Sears, Roebuck and Co. houses.

The Hutchinsons are the third owners of their vernacular Southgate Avenue home, which was built in 1905 for George Wilcox. The Wilcox family owned the house until 1986. For many years, and until the Hutchinsons bought the home last year, the building had been divided into apartments.

The Hutchinsons were fortunate to learn about the history of the house when they purchased it.

"The second owner knew the Wilcoxes and was a great source of information," Abby Hutchinson said. "He had lots of old photos and the original floor plan."

As in past years, luminarias will lead the way to each of the featured homes. To add to the appeal of this social evening, area restaurants are offering discounts of 10 to 25 percent to guests wearing Annapolis by Candlelight buttons.

Participating restaurants include Carrol's Creek Cafe, Corinthian and Treaty of Paris restaurants, Armadillo's Bar and Grille, Cafe Normandie, Chart House, Griffin's City Dock, Harry Browne's, Middleton Tavern, O'Brien's Oyster Bar, Ram's Head Tavern, Sean Donlon's Irish Pub and Aromi d'Italia.

Annapolis by Candlelight is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, rain or shine. The cost is $22 in advance for members of Historic Annapolis Foundation and $25 for nonmembers. After Wednesday, all tickets will be $30.

Tickets are available for purchase at William Paca House and Garden at 186 Prince George St. and the Historic Annapolis Foundation Museum Store at 77 Main St. during regular hours. Sales at these locations will continue through Saturday.

People wishing to pay for their tickets in advance can call in orders to the foundation at 410-267- 7619. On the evenings of the tours, prepaid tickets will be held for pickup from 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Franklin House, 50 Franklin St.

Tour participants can take advantage of a free shuttle bus from the Gotts Court garage to various Murray Hill locations courtesy of Discover Annapolis Tours. Proceeds from the tour support Historic Annapolis Foundation's preservation and education programs.

Historical honors

Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation, the 27-year-old nonprofit leader in countywide preservation activities and public awareness, honored some of the area's preservation leaders at its annual awards ceremony Oct. 19 at historic Portland Manor in Lothian.

Led by Will Mumford, president of the trust, members presented four awards honoring efforts to preserve the historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of Anne Arundel County.

Marjorie Hegge was presented the group's Volunteer Award for her work during more than a decade of service with the Anne Arundel County Lost Towns Project, both in the field and in the lab. Hegge is a talented artist whose sketches of artifacts have appeared in scholarly reports on the project.

The Special Contribution to Archaeology Award was presented to the Storck family for its support of archaeology at the 17th-century Swan Cove site, the earliest known tobacco pipe kiln in United States. This project is providing insight into the beginnings of American manufacturing and trade.

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