July 9, 2022
The Maryland State House was designed by Joseph Horatio Anderson and was built by local merchant Charles Wallace.
Construction began in 1772 and was not completed until 1779, in part because the recently-completed roof blew off in 1774 and in part because laborers were discouraged by British warships in the harbor.
Maryland’s is the oldest state house in continuous legislative use.
The pediment depicts a version of the state seal.
The old and new sections of Maryland’s State House flow off of the area under the rotunda.
The dome was added 1785-94 and is the largest wooden dome in North America.
Architect Joseph Clark planned construction so that the dome was built without nails.
The dome is 113 feet off of the floor.
Portraits of the Lords Baltimore, are on display in the rotunda. The Calverts owned the colony of Maryland under a charter from the Crown of England. Their rule ended with the American Revolution.
In 2010-12 the old House of Delegates Chamber was returned to its 1876-1905 appearance.
Photograph of the old House of Delegates Chamber 1876-1905
Bronzes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman are featured in the Chamber to highlight the expansion of rights in Maryland in the 19th century.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland in 1818. He escaped slavery in 1838 and became an abolitionist writer, publisher and orator. This sculpture pictures him at age 46.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland in 1822 and escaped in 1849. She returned many times to rescue others who were enslaved and worked for the Union Army during the Civil War. The sculpture depicts her at age 42.
Maryland’s house served as the United States capitol from November 26, 1783 until August 13, 1784 and is the only state house to have done so.
George Washington presented his resignation as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army to Congress in the old Senate Chamber December 23, 1783.
The statue of George Washington is placed where it is believed he stood to deliver his address to Congress.
Molly Rideout is pictured in the gallery as Washington delivered his resignation. Women were not allowed on the floor of the Chamber at the time. She wrote the only known account Washington’s resignation left by a private citizen. The Chamber has been restored to the time when the Congress met here. Chairs had been ordered for the occasion of Washington’s address but had not been delivered and borrowed chairs were used instead.
Washington’s resignation address set the precedent that the military is under civilian authority.
When it met in this Chamber Congress also ratified the Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War and making Annapolis the first peacetime capital of the United States.
The President of Congress would have been seated here when Washington delivered his resignation speech.
The Old State House Caucus Room is used for meetings.
The silver service for the USS Maryland is displayed in the old State House Caucus Room.
A line of black limestone containing fossils separates the old and new sections of the State House. “The Annex” was built from 1902-1905 and was designed by Baldwin and Pennington.
The Grand Staircase is decorated with Edwin White’s 1859 painting “Washington Resigning His Commission”.
Looking down the Grand Staircase to the basement.
Entrance to the House of Delegates
Marble in the Senate and House of Delegates was chosen to reflect the gold and red colors of the Maryland flag.
The House is made up of 141 delegates from 47 districts.
Ceilings in both the House and Senate Chambers feature stained glass skylights from the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Entrance to the Senate Chamber
This room has been used by the Senate since 1906.
47 Senators sit by party affiliation and seniority.
Skylight in the Senate Chamber by the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The Maryland flag features the black and gold of the Calvert coat of arms and the red and white of the Crossland family. The mother of the first Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, was a Crossland.
The state seal pictures Lord Baltimore’s two estates: Maryland and Avalon in Newfoundland. The motto under the figures means “Strong deeds, gentle words”. The motto around the seal translates as “You have crowned us with the shield of Your good will”.
Seal on the exterior of the State House.
At one time the seal included an obverse with this image on it.