Historic Structures

Hammond-Harwood House, Annapolis Maryland

Date added: November 30, 2018 Categories: Maryland House Georgian

Annapolis is a town containing many distinguished 18th century houses. The Hammond-Harwood House, last of these to be completed, is more closely associated with William Buckland than either the Brice or Chase-Lloyd Houses. Contemporary documentation indicates that Buckland was here, perhaps for the first time, responsible, not only for the carving and interior decoration, but for the entire design of the building. A portrait by Charles Willson Peale, begun in 1773, shows Buckland holding a plan and front elevation of the house. A drawing of the house in Peale's Journal further indicates the deliberate selection of the Hammond-Harwood House as a suitable illustration of the highest achievement of Buckland's career.

Built by Matthias Hammond, an elegant young lawyer who received most of his large income from fifty-four tobacco plantations, the house was probably begun in 1773 and completed the following year, 1774, also the year of Buckland's death. In the second half of the 19th century the house was occupied by the Harwood family. Then in 1926 it was sold at public auction to St. John's College, which used it as a residence. The Hammond-Harwood House Association purchased the property in 1940 and today it is open to the public as an historic house museum. As an outstanding example of Georgian architecture and a reflection of the talent of William Buckland, The Hammond-Harwood House is a remarkable survivor of the great achievement of American architecture at the end of the Colonial Period.

The Hammond-Harwood House was built in 1774 for Matthias Hammond, a young lawyer, member of a wealthy Colonial family, and member of the Maryland assembly, Hammond never lived in the house. Local tradition says that his fiancee, for whom he was building the house, jilted him because he cared more for the house than for her. The story may have originated in the journal entries of James Nourse, who rented the house from Hammond. Nourse noted that while Hammond was in Philadelphia purchasing furniture for the house, Miss Chase eloped with another man. Hammond retired in 1776 to the family plantation in Anne Arundel County and remained a bachelor until his death at age thirty-eight in 1786. The house remained empty until 1784, when Hammond rented it to James Nourse. Later owners of the house include Ninian PInkney (Clerk of the Executive Council), Jeremiah Townley Chase and William Harwood (great-grandson of William Buckland).