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St. Mary's City in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Where is the City?

Discovering

 
 
Where is the City? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
1. Where is the City? Marker
Inscription.  "Where is the city?" is one of the most often-asked questions about Maryland's first capital. In 1695, the capital was relocated to Annapolis under pressure to situate the colony's government in a more central location that was less associated with the Catholic Lords Baltimore. The freemen of St. Mary's City petitioned the Protestant royal governor in an emotional appeal to keep the capital at St. Mary's, but their request was denied.

Without public offices and courts, the financial base of St. Mary's City disappeared, taking with it ordinaries, lawyers, clerks, and the printer. The buildings were gradually abandoned, and the city land became farmland.

Now, nearly 400 years later, archaeologists are uncovering the long-vanished capital, and buildings are being recreated on their original sites. Surviving documents and recently-found artifacts offer glimpses into the lives of those who once lived there.

[Captions:]
The remains of much of St. Mary's City ware literally just a few inches below the ground where you stand. Archaeology began in the 1930s and has been resumed on a regular basis since
Where is the City? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
2. Where is the City? Marker
the 1960s to rediscover the lost world of 17th-century Maryland.

Archaeologists uncovered the foundation of the St. John's house more than three hundred years after the house was built in 1638. During the first two decades of the settlement, the Assembly often met as St. John's. The foundation has been preserved and is visible at the site.

This conjectural drawing of St. Mary's City in 1685 shows structures and fence lines discovered through archaeological research.

Surviving historic documents can often be linked to archaeological evidence to gain a better understanding of St. Mary's City during the years when it was Maryland's capital.

What became farmland after the capital moved to Annapolis is now the site of this museum and St. Mary's College of Maryland.


[Timeline:]
1659 Protestant Rebellion in Maryland
1692 First Royal Governor Arrives in Maryland 1694 St. Mary's City Freemen' Petition Governor to Keep Capital at St. Mary's City
1695 Capital Moves to Annapolis
1700s Area Reverts to Farmland
1829 State House was Torn Down
1840 St. Mary's College of Maryland Established
1934 Reconstructed State House Built
1960s Archaeological Investigations Begun by Historic St. Mary's City Commission
1997
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Reconstruction Begins on Original Sites of Important Buildings


[Aside:]
"...it was the prime and originall Settlemt of this Province and from the first Seateing thereof for above Sixty yeares hath been the Antient and Chiefe Seate of Governmt..."
The first argument stated in an appeal to the governor to keep the capital in St. Mary's City,
1694

By the mid-1690's, the original State House needed many repairs. Although the capital had moved, the building continued to be used for county court.

Within a few years, however, it was turned over to the Episcopal parish at St. Mary's City. It was torn down in 1829 and the bricks were used to erect the current church.

The reconstructed State House shown here was erected in 1934 for the 300th anniversary of the founding of Maryland.

 
Erected by Historic St. Mary's City.
 
Location. 38° 10.888′ N, 76° 25.814′ W. Marker is in St. Mary's City, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Hogaboom Lane 0.7 miles west of Rosecroft Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 18751 Hogaboom Lane, Saint Marys City MD 20686, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. An Opportunity Awaits... (within shouting distance of
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this marker); Encountering the Other (within shouting distance of this marker); Historic St. Mary's City (within shouting distance of this marker); "a lande, even as God made it" (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Calvert Family and the Founding of Maryland (about 400 feet away); Welcome to the Chapel Field (about 600 feet away); Agricultural Change and Environmental Damage (about 700 feet away); Dating Changes in a Building (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Mary's City.
 
Categories. Churches & ReligionColonial EraSettlements & Settlers
 

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Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 3, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 3, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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