Maryland State House
The Maryland State House, completed in 1788, holds the distinction of being in longest continuous use of any statehouse in the nation. The State House dome is made completely of cypress wood and held together by wooden pegs and hand-wrought iron bars. Inside is the room where George Washington resigned his commission as head the Continental Army after winning the Revolutionary War. This historic eventwas said to be the first time a victorious revolutionary leader voluntarily stepped down to return to a life of peace. The Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War was also signed here. Down the hall, todayís crop of lawmakers convenes for a few months each year to govern the state. Free tours leave the State House Visitorís Center (inside on the right) every half-hour.
The grounds of the State House are among the most beautiful sites in Annapolis. Cross the street from Government House and take the path to the left of the grand steps entering the building. Follow the path around the building. Next to the first bench you will see a white oak, called the Freedom Tree, planted in 1973 to honor of Marylandís POW/MIAís . If you continue on a bit further, you will come upon one of the most scenic views in Annapolis. Atop the State House hill, looking down Maryland Avenue, the view is framed by a huge American elm on the left and a tulip poplar on the right. The Elm has a crown spread of 130 feet and is 80 feet tall. To your left when facing Maryland Avenue is a charming, but private residential area known as Randall Court. You can view the court from the street gate to see a number of interesting trees. To the left of the gate is a striking copper beech, identified by its characteristic smooth bark and unusual red to purple leaf color. Most of the trees in the court were planted in pairs, a style fostered by Thomas Jefferson. Inside the court to the right is an elm, whose partner was lost years ago. In front of the house to the left of the gate is a very handsome Japanese maple, thought to be the largest of its type in Annapolis. Although it cannot be seen from the front gate, one of the tallest trees in Annapolis is a huge pecan within Randall Court. Local stories mention its use as a guide to ships in post-Civil War days.
Returning to the State House grounds, continue to the small building just beyond where you viewed Maryland Avenue. This is the old Treasury Building where taxes were paid, often in tobacco! Next to the Treasury Building is a 90 foot tall white ash, with a v-shaped trunk. If you look up toward the State House from this point, you will see two large deodar cedars. These are the only two remaining from a planting of these cedars in the early 1900ís that encircled the State House.
If you continue around the building, just across from Francis Street, you will pass by four little-leaf lindens. The next tree along State Circle is a silver pendent linden. This tree is particularly attractive with its graceful, trailing branches. Continuing around the final portion of the building, you should notice a northern red oak, with a plaque noting that this tree was planted to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. Maryland takes pride in having the only State House in the nation with a tree planted in memory of Dr. King.
Identify the deoder cedar on the Leaf Quest activity on the website. The trees pictured for each remaining site are also included in the activity.
For your next stop, take Maryland Avenue to Prince George Street. Turn right on Prince George and continue until you see the William Paca House on your left.
Last updated on November 20, 2001.
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