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Riverview, New Brunswick
September 29, 2006
Paca, who would eventually become one of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence, a state delegate to the first two Continental Congresses, a senator, and a judge, would hold on to the house only until 1780. After that, it would pass through many hands. The most remarkable change to the house took place in 1901 when a developer bought the property and attached a 200 room hotel directly to it. In 1965, a potential buyer proposed to raze the entire structure, including the original house, and put an office building on the site. Fortunately, the Historic Annapolis foundation took it over, removed the 1901 addition, restored the garden where it had been built and opened the restored house in 1973.
Our exploration of Paca house is by guided tour (45 minutes) and takes us through the two floors of the central block. Our first room is the study, or gentleman’s room. As with most of the primary rooms in the house, it is painted with enough Prussian Blue to demonstrate the owner’s wealth and features heavy moldings. Our journey takes us through the kitchen in the east wing and a large formal dining room. Of note is that this house is decorated to colonial standards… there are some fine pieces of furniture etc, but in general, the overall impression is that of austerity. The exception is only in the parlour, a fairly lavishly (but restrained by our standards) decorated room for the entertainment of guests.
Upstairs, we pass through the sick room and two large bedrooms, the owner’s bedroom (or parlour chamber) being an extremely good size. From the exterior, with its elevated position above the street, the house appears quite imposing… that is far from the impression that one receives from viewing the interior where, although the dimensions are pleasing, the house is simply a comfortable family home. (Although, your tour won’t take you to the third floor or either of the two-story wings other than the gift shop in the west wing).
Perhaps the most attractive portion of the house is the formal garden which is laid out as four themed gardens… the boxwood, holly, rose and flower parterres, all linked by pathways which lead down to a pleasant pond and a classical summer house. It’s a nice place to pass time as you wait for your tour. (2006 admission, house and gardens, $8 adult. Information (410) 267-7619 or 800-603-4020)
From journal Annapolis: A Colonial Jewel Box
Oakhurst, New Jersey
October 25, 2000
From journal Weekend in Annapolis