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Main Street 1965


 This view of Main Street looking downhill to the waterfront  shows the view  before the utility wires were put underground and the shop signage was changed to be signs on the building fronts rather than perpendicular to the building fronts.    The Standard Oil gas station sign  belongs to a station that occupied part of the Market Space, next to the Market House.
Main Street Today
A vastly improved  Main Street is seen today with less overpowering signage and the wires put underground.
Souvenir Tin
Preservation Pioneers and the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Landmark District

 The first awardee was Pickett Wright, oldest son of St.ClairWright, in her honor. Next was Pringle Symonds, both past president and vice president of Historic Annapolis followed by Alice Randall, Susan Carter and Minor Carter, 5oth anniversary and preservation pioneers Janet Hall, Judith Homorsky, Jean Russo all of whom worked for or still work for Historic Annapolis.

 The late Orlando Ridout’s award was accepted by his daughter, Molly Ridout. Loni Moyer represented her father the late Mayor Roger ‘Pip’ Moyer, Senator Joe Tydings accepted his award as did Gavin Denhardt, an Annapolis resident who served on the city’s first Historic District Commission.


 The photograph includes some but not all awardees in the parlor of the Brice House. seated in the front are l to r, Senator Tydings, Alice Randall, Susan Carter,Pringle Symonds, and Pickett Wright.

Historic Annapolis Foundation

   Historic Annapolis Incorporated was founded in 1952 as a private organization after the Annapolis City Council had failed to pass a city Historic District Zoning Ordinance.  More than 200 local citizens formed this organization.  St.Clair was one of the most active volunteers.   They did not have overnight success, but worked through the years with extraordinary determination to convince property owners and citizens of Annapolis that it was not an unattractive outmoded town but a place that could use its many historic resources to attract visitors and along the way make a much more attractive city for its residents.  

St. Clair Wright's Vision for Annapolis

  By the late 1980s, with the Paca House being used for U.S. Government visitors and the garden open to the public, preservation was more accepted in Annapolis.   People saw that it was good for business.   St.Clair Wright became less active publicly in preservation but still was concerned and worked behind the scene to encourage others.   

   In 1992, the year before she died, she wrote her Legacy for Annapolis suggesting that there is “more to save and more to cherish”.   She advocated the adoption of an Historic Preservation structure partnership between the city, Historic Annapolis and other private organizations.  She advocated the reconstitution of a Revolving Fund for use in continued restoration.  She advocated the full use of the state’s Preservation Data Bank and easy accessibility for all who need it.   She advocated a museum of the City of Annapolis to enlighten its citizens and visitors as to the functions of preservation and historical organization and to show the evidence of four centuries of culture, technology, and everyday lives of the people who built the town and continue to live here today.    

   In 2001 Historic Annapolis Foundation planned this museum and proposed dedicating it to her.   The HIstoric Annapolis Museum at 99 Main Street,   dedicated to St.Clair Wright, opened on April 28, 2006.     

Changed Attitudes Towards the Historic District

   Historic Annapolis Incorporated lost the battle in 1964 to stop the construction of a hotel down on the waterfront but they did succeed in lowering the height of the hotel by  two stories.    This hotel later became famous as the place where Spiro Agnew resigned from the Vice Presidency of the United States: some financial irregularities lingered from his term as governor of Maryland.  
    In 1965, the  U.S. Department of the Interior designated the one third mile district of downtown Annapolis a National Historic Landmark.  Stuart Udall, the Secretary of the Interior, visited Annapolis and presented the award.   
    But it was not until 1969 that the City of Annapolis, under the Mayor Roger Moyer, passed an historic district ordinance.  A referendum approved the creation of the district and created a five member panel to review all downtown construction visible from the streets.   
    That was the same year that the city voted to demolish the Market House, a public market building on the waterfront built in 1868.   A gas station next to the Market House had been demolished earlier and the city wanted to turn the entire plaza into  a parking lot.    St. Clair found that the original 19th century owners of the Market House property had given  the land to the City of Annapolis to be a market in perpetuity.    Turning the property into a parking lot would cause the ownership of the land to revert to the descendents of those owners. St.Clair found descendents who would be willing to sue the city.  The city decided to save the Market House.   
      In 1982 Historic Annapolis in cooperation with the University of Maryland  began an effort to do archeological work on downtown sites.  This program still exists, run by the Mayor's office in Annapolis in cooperation with the University of Maryland.  Dr.  Mark Leone  was in charge of the archeological work during most of the program's history.    He has recently published a book about his years of work in Annapolis.     

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