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War of 1812 Landmarks on Maryland House & Garden Tour in County

Historic sites in Prince George's County will be the focus of the April 26 portion of the annual Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage.

Darnall's Chance on Governor Oden Bowie Drive in Upper Marlboro is one of the dozens of historic properties featured this spring on the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage. File|Patch
Darnall's Chance on Governor Oden Bowie Drive in Upper Marlboro is one of the dozens of historic properties featured this spring on the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage. File|Patch

From a news release:

The annual Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage returns for six weekends this spring from Saturday, April 26, through Saturday, May 31. Stops feature some of Maryland’s most historic properties, including the grave of a man who played a key role in the creation of the national anthem and other landmarks from the War of 1812.

The 2014 tour includes about 50 private homes, gardens, farms, churches and historic sites across five areas in Maryland. They are Prince George’s County (Saturday, April 26); Baltimore County/Parkton (Sunday, May 4); Talbot County (Saturday, May 10); Calvert County (Saturday, May 17) and Kent County (Saturday, May 31).

Each tour is $30 when purchased in advance. Lunches will be available on all tours. Purchase tickets and get more information at mhgp.org or 410-821-6933.

Prince George’s County:

The tour in Prince George’s County offers a mini-history lesson about the war of 1812 and follows part of the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Byway. Among the highlights of the 15 attractions is Bellefields, the main block of which was built in the first half of the 18th century. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was the home of Major Benjamin Oden during the War of 1812 and the site of a meeting between Brigadier General William H. Winder and then-Secretary of State James Monroe during the war.

Another site of interest along the tour is the grave of Dr. William Beanes, who was taken hostage by the British and confined to a vessel on the Chesapeake Bay. Francis Scott Key helped to negotiate his release, and in the process was given a front row seat to the British attack on Baltimore. When the bombing ceased, Key saw that the tattered American flag still waved, prompting him to compose the lyrics that would eventually become the National Anthem. The tour concludes at Darnall’s Chance, another 18th century home that played a role in the war, where locally produced wine and cheese will be served. 

Each year, proceeds from the tour support designated preservation projects in each host community. To date, the Pilgrimage has raised more than $1 million for the preservation and restoration of architecturally significant properties throughout the state of Maryland while entertaining and informing many thousands of tour-goers.

“In this 77th year, we are proud to present so many unique and vastly different types of properties,” said Meredith Boren, chairman, Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage.

“In addition to getting a glimpse of the important role that these individual counties played in the history not only of our region, but of the nation as a whole, guests on the tours will explore Prince George’s County’s War of 1812 landmarks, experience examples of both white and African American one-room schoolhouses in Calvert County, see an inn that offers a visual explanation of the term “bar and grille” (which does not involve the cooking of food) in Parkton (Baltimore County), enjoy the flora and fauna of Talbot County and take in the beauty of a church and grounds that date back as many as 400 years in Kent County,” she adds.

Guests will be offered lunch (at an additional cost) on each of the county tours.

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