Historic homes part of Holiday Tour Dec. 8
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.
The Walter T. Wright House will be featured on the Holiday Tour of Historic Homes.