Monday, July 13, 2015

Hogshead, Annapolis, Maryland

One of the oldest buildings in Annapolis (the capital of Maryland) is Hogshead. Built in the 1800s, it has not been modernized. The building has no running water or electricity. It has been preserved through benign neglect and is now under restoration. The main floor is open to visitors. Volunteers dressed in colonial garb tell what life was like for the original inhabitants of Annapolis and the thirteen colonies that would eventually become the United States of America.


We visited on the Fourth of July and were treated to an excellent presentation covering the settling of Maryland in 1634 and the colonial period. He had plenty of items on hand to discuss, including clay pipes, various furs, large rifles, etc.

A patriotic guest

Lots of stuff

Colonial-era rifles

The fur trade was a source of profit for many. Various furs were highly prized by the Europeans, including beaver and deer fur. Beaver fur is water-tight and was considered stylish. The furs were made into hats. Deer fur had many uses. Each deer pelt was worth one Spanish dollar, so a buck was worth a dollar!

Horns from deer and cattle had many different uses. The most famous use is for powder horns, where soldiers kept gun powder dry. Horns were also hollowed out for drinking glasses and to store sugar (which was a very valuable commodity--only rich people could afford it). Flattened horns were shaved thin and used as book covers and as translucent panes for lanterns or windows. Such panes were a lot sturdier than glass. The horn tips were sliced in coin-sized pieces. Two holes would be burned through the piece to make a button.

N examines some deer antlers

The docent talked a bit about linen-making, tobacco, rifles, and going to pubs back in colonial days. It was all fascinating.

He asked for questions at the end and we asked how many people would live in a house like Hogshead. He said the land was originally owned by a wealthy person who put up a simple building to rent to craftsmen or other middle-class workers. A family could be anywhere from three to fourteen people. Two rooms are on each floor, with a brick basement where the kitchen fireplace was located.

At the end of the presentation, he gave necklaces to L and J to thank them for their dutiful attention.

Presenting a gift

Glad for a gift

Hogshead is worth a visit. It's right near the waterfront area on Pinkney Street and in easy walking distance to plenty of shops, restaurants, historic buildings, and civic buildings.

More from Annapolis in the next post!

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