The Hammond-Harwood House ~ which boasts “the prettiest door in America” ~ was designed for Matthias Hammond by William Buckland (who also worked on Gunston Hall). A successful Maryland tobacco planter, Hammond owned numerous plantations and other properties throughout the state, and may never have lived in the house. Construction began in 1774 and was likely completed by 1779 when the first tenant, Jeremiah Townley Chase, installed his law offices in part of the house. The building originally sat on a combination of four square city lots, and by all accounts had an enviable garden. Over the years the garden lots were sold off, and today almost nothing remains but a small back yard with a few old-growth boxwoods. The house is a five-part Georgian, laid out in perfect Palladian symmetry. The famous doorway is festooned with garlands of ribbons and roses, and the bull’s eye windows in the front and back pediments feature Chippendale-style cartouches.
For me, the highlight of the visit was discovering that the house has a remarkable little collection of paintings by various members of the Peale family, including Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, James Peale, and Charles Peale Polk. I had no idea ~ such a wonderful surprise!
P.S. I apologize for the lack of interior photographs, but photography sadly was not allowed in either house. So, in the spirit of Palladian symmetry I leave you with the prettiest rose I have ever seen ~ blooming right across the street.