Sneak Peek at “A History of Annapolis in 99 Objects.”
Dec 11, 2015 09:00AM
● By Cate Reynolds
Setting criteria for objects was daunting. Not only did final selections have to represent four centuries, but they also had to offer different perspectives on Annapolis’ history. A few, however, were easy picks.
CurrencyLocal historian Will Mumford was haunted by the legend: was the house at the bottom of Cornhill Street site of America’s first mint? Ten years ago when the house changed ownership, Mumford went on a “one man dig” and carted ten truckloads of dirt from the basement to a friend’s backyard. There, he uncovered the Chalmers coins. His painstaking efforts confirmed that local silversmith John Chalmers minted the coins there in 1783. Produced years before any federal currency system, the coins are believed to be the very first made in the United States.
The Sedan ChairMaryland’s last royal Governor, Robert Eden, who presided from 1769–1776, lived in a mansion on what is now the parking lot in front of the Naval Academy’s Dahlgren Hall. Because Eden required a regal traverse ’cross the rough roads of town, the sedan chair was constructed. Borne on the shoulders of servants, the chair resembles a small wooden box on poles, upholstered inside, painted and gilded on the outside. Stored at a facility in Baltimore, it needs further restoration before joining the exhibit.