Before the State House or, as it was sometimes called, the Court House, in Annapolis
was completed, the General Assembly and the other agencies of the Colonial government met
in private homes or inns and the County Court probably did the same, although there are no
records extant to prove this.
When the State House was nearing completion, the General Assembly passed an act
allotting space for the various offices of province, county and town. The title to the act
and the part relevant to Anne Arundel County follow:
An Act Directing and appointing to what use the severall Rooms in the State
house in the Town and Porte of Annapolis shall be applyed to.
Whereas this Province hath been att a great Charge and Expences in the building
of a State house or a Publick house of Judicature att this Porte of Annapolis which is
now allmost finished and Compleated and to the end that the said house and the
Severall rooms and apartments therein may in time present and to Come be applyed
and appropriated to the uses and purposes the same was Designed for and no other
Be it Enacted by the Kings most Excellent Maty by and with the Advice and
Consent of this present Generall Assembly and the Authority of the Same That the
said State house and the Severall Rooms and appartments therein for the time present
and to Come be and is hereby Appointed and Appropriated to the uses and purposes
hereafter mentioned and no other that is to say the great Room below staires for
Courts and Assemblys to sitt in ... the two Rooms on the Right hand in the upper
Loft one for the County Clark to keep the County Records in..... ,18
It is also known that the Anne Arundel County Court held its meetings in the State
House, at least as early as March of 1697/98.19 However, there is no evidence as to the room
which was allotted for its use. The Clerk of the County, as we have seen, was given one of the
loft rooms and, of course, the court might have met here, but since this room was no doubt
extremely small, that is not likely. It is more probable that it met in "the great Room below
staires for Courts and Assemblys to sitt in......." It might easily have been arranged for the
Anne Arundel County Court to meet when the Provincial Court or the Assembly was not in
session. In any case, there is no record that the court met anywhere else and there is at least
one bit of evidence which may be interpreted to mean that the meeting place of the Anne
Arundel County Court and the General Assembly was the same. I quote from the Minutes of
the County Court for September 12, 1704:
Whereupon the Court considering the great inconvenience that will attend their
sitting to proceed upon any business because of the assemblies now sitting which is
likely to continue a considerable time adjourned til the second Tuesday of November
Courthouse in the Second State House
On the night of October 18, 1704, this first combination State House and Courthouse
burned. The building, with the exception of the walls, was a total loss. Some of the records
of the State government were lost21 as were all of the county records with the exception of
the current volumes of the court and land records which perhaps were out of the office during
the night of the fire. After an examination of the ruins, the General Assembly decided that it
would be feasible to rebuild the State House on the foundations of the one which had burned.
We do not know when this work was completed but we believe that by the end of 1706 the
building had been reoccupied.22
Since the General Assembly did not make a reallotment of space, and since the building
was constructed on the old foundations, it may be assumed that it was of the same size as the
18 Arch, of Md., XIX, 594-95. Ch. 6, Acts of 1697.
19 Ibid., XXII, 102. March 23, 1697/98.
20 Judgments, G, 612, Ms.
21 Arch, of Md., XXXIV, 679.
22 For an account of this and other state houses see Morris
L. Radoff, Buildings of The State of Maryland at Annapolis,