Following in Jefferson’s Footsteps

Clockwise from top: looking into the State House rotunda, the view down Maryland Avenue, the interior of the dome (complete with historic graffiti), and the view out an oval window on the way up

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to get an incomparable, and historical, view of Annapolis. I scaled the stairs of the State House to the top, marveling at its construction along the way. The Maryland State House was built in 1779 and is the oldest state house still in legislative use. Its dome was enlarged in the 1780s to better fit the scale of the building. I was astounded by the dome’s construction; there are no structural nails, only mortise and tenon joints and wooden pegs holding the massive beams together. And there are actually two domes, an interior dome and an exterior dome, with stairs in the space between the two.

Getting an inside look at the dome and a bird’s-eye view of Annapolis was an amazing experience. I can understand why Thomas Jefferson and James Madison supposedly spent three hours up there in 1790, looking at Annapolis and gossiping about its inhabitants. I was tempted to do the same…

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