The history of the Maryland Governor’s House is a long, troubled, winding tale. There is ruinous abandonment, then demolished grace, followed by enlightened eclecticism, and finally pale imitation.
The story begins in 1744 with Colonial Governor Thomas Bladen starting construction on his official residence. Work commenced with a legislative appropriation of £4,000 ($662,000 today) on one of the largest and most elaborate houses in all of the colonies. The 14,000 square foot house had a footprint 80 feet by 60 feet. The brick walls reached two stories above a raised basement on high ground commanding views of all of Annapolis. There were Portland stone entrance steps imported from England, and a grand entertainment space with a two-story high interior.
Unfortunately, the walls were left without a roof. Work stopped for lack of additional appropriations. “Bladen’s Folly” stood as a ruin for nearly fifty years. Imagine the presence of this massive moldering ruin at the time all of the great 18th-century homes of Annapolis were built.
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