James Brice House
The James Brice House is one of the largest and most elegant of Annapolis’s historic mansions. Construction on the five-part Georgian home started in 1767 after the death of James' father, Judge Brice. Using enslaved and indentured labor as well as local craftsmen, the house took nearly 7 years to complete.
Today, this National Historic Landmark is the headquarters of Historic Annapolis. Highlights of the central block include a magnificent mahogany staircase and the lavishly decorated drawing room, which features a plaster cornice and paneling, a carved mantel and overmantel, and interior window shutters. The spacious modern conference room can be rented for meetings, presentations, and other events.
History of the James Brice House
James Brice was a lawyer and planter, a local and county officeholder, a member of Maryland’s Executive Council for many years, and acting Governor in 1792. He and his wife, Juliana Jennings, had seven children. Thanks to Brice’s detailed account book, we know a lot about the construction of his five-part Georgian mansion. Work began on April 14, 1767 with the laying of a cornerstone marked “The Beginning.” Six years, 326,000 bricks, and 90,800 cypress shingles later, the house was completed at a cost of just over £4,014 in colonial Maryland’s currency.
The first floor of the central block is laid out similarly to a nearby house built by James Brice’s father, with a stair hall just inside the entrance and three adjoining public rooms. The main staircase is crafted of rich mahogany. The drawing room is the home’s largest and most lavishly decorated space, featuring a plaster cornice and paneling, a carved mantel and overmantel, and interior window shutters. A hidden service stair, similar again to one in the house where James Brice grew up, provided access to the second floor, where private family chambers are arranged to the front and rear of a transverse passage.
The house stayed in the Brice family until the 1870s, when it was purchased by the Martin family, and in 1911 it was bought by the proprietors of the nearby Carvel Hall hotel. St. John’s College acquired the house in 1927 and converted it to faculty apartments. Stanley and Helen Wohl bought it in 1953 and restored it to single-family use. In 1979, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen purchased the house (title was later conveyed to the International Masonry Institute) and began using it for office and meeting facilities. In 2014, the State of Maryland purchased the James Brice House and arranged for Historic Annapolis to maintain and manage the National Historic Landmark property.
James Brice House
42 East Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Hours and Admission
Historic Annapolis Offices open weekdays 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Group Tours can be appranged by appointment.