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

Witness to History


Witness to History Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), August 30, 2019
1. Witness to History Marker
Inscription.  Buried here are ruins of the home of Maryland's first governor, Leonard Calvert. Built around 1636, this wooden structure was one of the largest buildings in St. Mary's City, measuring 40 feet wide by 68 feet long. Brick facing and chimneys were added in the 1670s.

Because of its size, Calvert's home was a place where the colony's Assembly often gathered. The "Act concerning Religion," affirming toleration of diverse Christian beliefs, was adopted here in 1649. The government of Maryland bought the structure in 1662 to serve as an official seat of the legislature, renaming it the "Country's House."

After a brick State House was erected in 1676, this building became an inn. It stood until the early 1700s, having been occupied for nearly the entire time when St. Mary's City was the capital of Maryland.

Excavation plan of the Calvert House (Country's House) foundation. The presence of 19th-century structures of this 17th-century structure has made the study of this site even more challenging.

Glass bottle seals found during excavation helped to identify this house. The
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initials "JB" stand for John Baker. With his wife Elizabeth, John Baker ran the Country's House as a public inn during the 1670s and 1680s. They added the brick walls and brick chimneys.

This building's identity was not verified until 1982, when archaeologists discovered buried artifacts and other clues linking the structure to historical documents about the Calvert house. Modern bricks have been placed on top of the original bricks to prevent them and mark the site.

1634 140 Colonists Arrive in Maryland
1636 Calvert House Built
1649 An Act concerning Religion Passed
1662 Calvert House Becomes First Official State House
1676 Brick State House Built Calvert House Becomes a Public Inn

" is necessary that some house be built or purchased to keepe Courts in, or Assemblyes for the benefit of the Country."
Upper House Proceedings, April 5, 1662

Around this large house stood various outbuildings, fences, gardens, and orchards. This illustration, based on archaeological evidence, hints at the likely appearance of the "Country's House" around 1675.

Erected by Historic St. Mary's City.
Topics. This historical marker is listed
Witness to History Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), August 30, 2019
2. Witness to History Marker
in these topic lists: Colonial EraGovernment & PoliticsIndustry & CommerceNotable Buildings. A significant historical date for this entry is April 5, 1662.
Location. 38° 11.053′ N, 76° 25.985′ W. Marker is in St. Mary's City, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker is on Aldermanbury Street Footpath just west of Middle Street Path, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: 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. A Time of Troubles (within shouting distance of this marker); Reclaiming the Lost City (within shouting distance of this marker); Layers of the Past (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Signs of Industry (within shouting distance of this marker); Horse High, Pig Tight, and Bull Strong (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); From Slavery to Freedom (about 300 feet away); "…once the Metropolis" (about 400 feet away); Framing the Past (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Mary's City.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 137 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 3, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Oct. 2, 2023