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22 Facts You Need to Know about Annapolis

Updated on April 8, 2014

Annapolis, a city in central Maryland, is the capital of the state, and the seat of Anne Arundel county. It is 30 miles (48 km) east of Washington, D.C., on the south bank of the Severn River near its mouth on Chesapeake Bay.

Here are 22 facts you need to know about Annapolis:

1. Since 1845 Annapolis has been the home of the United States Naval Academy.

2. A particular attraction at the Naval Academy is its collection of naval memorabilia and the ship models donated by Henry Huddleston Rogers.

3. The city of Annapolis has few industries, but research and development firms have located there because it is near the nation's capital.

4. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Maryland's Eastern Shore is just north of Annapolis.

5. Many tourists are attracted to Annapolis by its authentically colonial character and by the U.S. Naval Academy.

6. More than 80 of the city's buildings have been documented as prerevolutionary, including homes belonging to three of Maryland's signers of the Declaration of Independence.


7. In July 1965 the secretary of the interior declared the "old city" of Annapolis a national historic district. It was laid out in 1696 by the colonial governor, Sir Francis Nicholson, when the capital of Maryland colony was moved from St. Mary's.

8. The city’s plan of radiating streets and interconnecting circles is remarkably similar to the plans of Sir Christopher Wren and John Evelyn for rebuilding London after the fire of 1666.

9. At the center of the "old city" is the State House (1772–1790), the third on that site and the oldest in the nation still in legislative use.

10. Along the Severn River are the grounds of St. John's College and the U.S. Naval Academy. St. John's College was established in 1784 as a successor to King William's School (1696).

11. Of interest on its campus are the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Art Gallery; McDowell Hall; the house of Charles Carroll, the barrister; and the centuries-old Liberty Tree.

St. Anne's Episcopal Church
St. Anne's Episcopal Church | Source

12. Other notable buildings in Annapolis open to the public are St. Anne's Episcopal Church and three late-18th-century houses: Paca, Chase-Lloyd, and Hammond-Harwood.

13. The William Paca House, which has a notable garden, is owned by the Historic Annapolis Foundation, the city and county preservation society that provides tour guides for visitors.

14. Libraries in Annapolis include the state library, the main county library, and libraries at the Naval Academy and St. John's College.

15. Annual events in Annapolis include the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the U.S. Sailboat Show, Chesapeake Appreciation Days, Annapolis by Candlelight, Christmas in Annapolis, and the Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival.

16. The National Sailing Hall of Fame, located in the city of Annapolis, was established there in 2005; various exhibits are sponsored by this organization.

17. Annapolis was settled in 1649 by ten Puritan families from Virginia who were offered asylum from religious persecution. Their first settlement on the north bank of the Severn was called the Town at Greenbury.

18. The first recorded activity on the south side of the river -variously known as Providence, the Townland at Proctor's, Town at Severn, Town and Port of Anne Arundel, and finally Annapolis (since 1695)- was the establishment of a boatyard by Thomas Todd in 1650.

19. Annapolis became a port of entry in 1668 and the capital of the crown colony in 1694. It was chartered by Queen Anne in 1708 and incorporated as a city in 1796.

20. Annapolis became the temporary national capital when the Continental Congress met there from Nov. 26, 1783, to Aug. 13, 1784.

21. In the old Senate Chamber of the State House, on Dec. 23, 1783, George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the Continental Army. There, too, on Jan. 14, 1784, the peace treaty with England was ratified, ending the Revolutionary War.

22. The Annapolis Convention of 1786 was a precursor of the Constitutional Convention of the next year. The City of Annapolis Council consists of the mayor and eight aldermen representing the eight wards.


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