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 Annapolis, Maryland



Book Introduction

     From its earliest days as a colonial capital city, Annapolis was known as the “Athens of America” due to its cultural activities, a glittering social season, gracious hospitality and intellectual stimulation.

     In those days, the harbor waters around the City Dock were so rich with sea life that observers wrote about “oysters stacked ten feet high around the pier.” The farms along the fertile tributaries leading to the Bay brought their bumper crops of tobacco, peanuts, and other staples to market in Annapolis. Consequently, Annapolis prospered as a port and major tobacco center for over 100 years.

     However, by the early 1800’s, this cosmopolitan city was no longer the bustling port it had once been. Year after year, crops had slowly depleted the once-rich soil of inland farms, forcing growers to move further north. The economic power thus shifted to another port city, Baltimore, leaving Annapolis to walk a different path.

     In spite of this shift, Maryland’s capital city continued to wield considerable political and social power from its bucolic, by-the-sea setting. In 1845, Annapolis became the home of the new U.S. Naval Academy, precisely because it was a small town with fewer temptations for young cadets.

     The economic power shift to Baltimore also allowed Annapolis to grow at a slower pace, free from the wrecking balls of frenzied growth that had destroyed the architectural heritage of so many American cities. Indeed, colonial Annapolis largely remains in tact and is celebrated as the most authentic colonial city in the United States and a perfect place to take a walking tour.

A Colonial Museum without Walls

     Annapolitans can proudly point to over 1,500 restored historic landmarks from the 18th and 19th centuries and 50 pre-Revolutionary War gems, too, including the homes of four of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.

     George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and other celebrities of colonial America came to Annapolis and stayed at its inns, drank at its taverns, and bought ordinary items from its stores.

     In modern-day Annapolis, the historic city of 35,000 people handles the delicate balance between preserving its heritage and protecting its future with consummate style. This “museum without walls” is also enjoying modern-day notoriety as “America’s Sailing Capital” where you can find the latest in boating technology under sail and under power in the harbor and the bay.

          Welcome to historic Annapolis, a perfect gem on the Chesapeake Bay.


U.S. CONSTELLATION (top and bottom)
In 2004, the U.S.S. Constellation returned to the port of Annapolis for the first time in 111 years for an historic, six-day visit. This “sloop of war” was commissioned in 1855 and was the last all-sail ship built by the United States Navy.

In 1977 on the eve of America’s bi-centennial celebration, an open-air shipyard was set up in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to build the first, authentic Baltimore Clipper ship in 150 years. The Pride of Baltimore I sailed over 150,000 miles in nine years as Maryland’s good-will ambassador, until she was sunk by a freak squall in the Caribbean in 1986. Just two years later, the Pride of Baltimore II set sail and continues its mission of good will and ecological education.


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