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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Leonardtown in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Great House

 
 
The Great House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 10, 2015
1. The Great House Marker
Inscription. On this site, lot 39, as designated of a plat of Leonardtown c. 1728, was constructed the “Great House” of John Stewart. Built c. 1734, the structure stood until 1960 and over the years served many purposes being referenced at various periods as the “Great House”, “Thompson's Inn”, “The Tavern Lot”, “The Old Tavern Lot”, “Clarke's Hotel” and the “Beacon Building”.

During its 225 years the Great House provided offices for county agencies, local businesses and professionals while serving as a boarding house, hotel, tavern, billiard room, stage depot, and private residence.

In 1802 the Georgetown and Port Tobacco mail stage was extended to Thompson's Inn at Leonardtown. James Thompson Jr. proprietor was father of 8 sons, four who fought the British during the War of 1812 and thus became known to posterity as the “Fighting Thompsons'.”

In 1818 then tavern proprietor, Philip Greenwell, for the yearly rent of one bottle of Madeira wine to Henry G.S. Key, enjoyed the use of a 15 foot strip of land running along and parallel with said lot, to wit a sidewalk.

The Leonardtown Herald and subsequently the Saint Mary's Beacon were published from this location from 1839 until the demise of the building in 1960.
The Great House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 10, 2015
2. The Great House Marker
From 1855 through 1952 three generations of the King family, John Franklin, Francis Vernon and Aloysius Fenwick lived and ran the paper from this location.

On April 25, 1905 the Leonardtown telephone exchange, located in the “Beacon Building” opened with 25 phones on the line.

In September 2 1911, after inspecting the new road from Mechanicsville to Leonardtown, Governor Crothers posed for a photograph in front of the Beacon building with a team of oxen symbolizing the passing of the ox team in St. Mary's as an essential element of transportation.

St.Mary;s County Health Department was located on the second floor of the Beacon Building from 1934 to 1953.

The two English yew trees located on this lot were located in the front yard of the structure and are thought to have been brought from England and planted during the Colonial period.
 
Location. 38° 17.383′ N, 76° 38.167′ W. Marker is in Leonardtown, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Court House Drive when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 41610 Court House Drive, Leonardtown MD 20650, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Leonardtown (a few steps from this marker); This Cannon
The Great House image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 10, 2015
3. The Great House
Close-up of photo on marker
(within shouting distance of this marker); A Town Spared (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); World War I Monument -- Leonardtown (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Leonardtown (about 500 feet away); War Comes to Breton Bay (about 600 feet away); The Mural Story (about 700 feet away); Tudor Hall (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Leonardtown.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made Features
 
41610 Court House Drive image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 10, 2015
4. 41610 Court House Drive
41610 Court House Drive image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 10, 2015
5. 41610 Court House Drive
J. Ernest Bell II<br>Attorney at Law<br>41610 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 10, 2015
6. J. Ernest Bell II
Attorney at Law
41610
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 212 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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