The 18th Century State House

Old State House

The present Maryland State House is actually the third one to stand on State Circle in Annapolis. The first state house was built soon after the capital of Maryland was moved from St. Mary's City to Annapolis in 1695. This first state house burned down in 1704. The second state house on State Circle was completed in 1709 and, within 60 years, had become much too small for the colony's growing government and was too delapidated to warrant renovation. It was torn down and construction on the new state house was begun in 1772, with Joseph Horatio Anderson as architect and Charles Wallace as the "undertaker."

Work on the third state house was begun in 1772 and first occupied in 1779. However, by 1784 the building was already in need of work: the roof leaked and the cupola was described as inadequate, unimpressive and too small for the building. By 1788, the roof had been replaced, the old cupola had been taken off and the exterior of the dome we see today had been completed. The interior, with its beautiful plasterwork, was finished by 1795. The architect of the dome was Joseph Clark.

The jewel of this new State House was the Old Senate Chamber, featuring a gallery, described as "more elegant than required," balanced on the opposite wall by an ornately carved niche, the Old Senate Chamber was the embodiment of Annapolis-style design and craftsmanship.