His­toric homes part of Hol­i­day Tour Dec. 8

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Arts & Entertainment -

CENTREVILLE — On Dec. 8, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Queen Anne’s County Legacy Foun­da­tion will spon­sor the Hol­i­day Tour of His­toric Homes fea­tur­ing 17 sites, rang­ing from a 1667’s land grant es­tate on the Cor­sica River to a grand Queen Anne Vic­to­rian mer­chant’s home built in Centreville in 1893.

The Her­mitage is one of those homes to be toured, one of the old­est Eastern Shore es­tates which re­mains in­tact to­day as a 900-acre work­ing farm. Ac­cord­ing to Elaine Stud­ley with the Legacy Foun­da­tion, the first owner, Richard Til­gh­man I, was granted 400 acres on the Ch­ester River in 1667, by Lord Bal­ti­more in what was called a “thumb grant.” The grantee was al­lowed to put his thumb on a map, thus own­ing the land un­der his thumb. The story goes that Til­gh­man “rolled his thumb” to get a larger por­tion of land. Richard Tighlman II and his wife Mary Ox­ley had six chil­dren between 1660 and 1672.

The home has two por­tions: the orig­i­nal Colo­nial home was con­structed in the 1700s and the sec­ond part of the build­ing was added on in 1859. The home is the finest ex­am­ple of an Ital­ianate villa in Queen Anne’s County. De­scen­dants of Richard Til­gh­man I live on the farm to­day.

The Wal­ter T. Wright house, an­other fea­tured home on the tour, was built in 1893 by a 29-year-old mer­chant who was a part­ner in Wright & Lowe, a hard­ware store in Centreville. Re­stored to­day to the full op­u­lence of the Vic­to­rian era, the man­sion is one of the finest ex­am­ples of Queen Anne Vic­to­rian ar­chi­tec­ture in the county with a dis­tinc­tive tur­ret, gen­er­ous gin­ger­bread de­tail, stained glass win­dows, and a spi­ral stair­case.

The brick gate to the home is adorned with pineap­ple sculp­ture. The Pineap­ple be­came a sym­bol of hos­pi­tal­ity and suc­cess in Colo­nial Amer­ica as mer­chants re­turned from the Caribbean with sump­tu­ous new fruits. When a real pineap­ple was mounted on the gate it meant that the home was open to wel­come vis­i­tors. To­day, the stone pineap­ple re­mains a sym­bol of hos­pi­tal­ity, said Stud­ley.

An ad­join­ing Vic­to­rian iron fence leads to the “Fe­male Sem­i­nary” two doors away from the Wal­ter T. Wright home, also in the his­toric district of Centreville. Built circa 1876, the pub­lic school­house was in­tended ex­clu­sively for women.

The pressed-brick build­ing was built in the re­strained Vic­to­rian style, with two class­rooms on each of two floors with a side pas­sage. The Fe­male Sem­i­nary will host a hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing chal­lenge, a must-see on the tour.

These are just three of the 11 his­toric homes, four churches and two his­toric schools which will open their doors for the can­dle­light tours, to in­clude mu­sic, crafts, car­ol­ing, a bon­fire and restau­rants.

Pre-tour tick­ets are $30 on­line at www.QACLF.org, day of tick­ets are $35. For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the Queen Anne’s County Legacy Foun­da­tion through the web­site, www.QACLF. org, or call 410-671-5317.

The Her­mitage is one of the old­est Eastern Shore es­tates which re­mains in­tact to­day as a 900-acre work­ing farm.

The Wal­ter T. Wright House fea­tures a gor­geous spi­ral stair­case.

The Fe­male Sem­i­nary will host a hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing chal­lenge.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Wal­ter T. Wright House will be fea­tured on the Hol­i­day Tour of His­toric Homes.

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