This Georgian-Style mansion was built in the 1760s, by William Paca, the third Governor of the state of Maryland and one of four signers of the Declaration of Independence to hail from the Old Line State.
In 1763, Paca was wedded to Mary Chew, a wealthy descendant of John Chew who had arrived at Jamestown in 1622. The couple has three children but only one, John, survived into adulthood. Paca became a prominent lawyer, practicing in both county and provincial courts. In 1765, he teamed up with fellow attorney Samuel Chase to form the Sons of Liberty, and lead local protests against the Stamp Act.
As his political power grew throughout the late 1760s and early 1770s, Paca served as a councilman and mayor of Annapolis, and a member of the Maryland Colonial Assembly, Maryland House of Delegates, and ultimately the First Continental Congress.
Mary Chew Paca died in January of 1774 at the age of 38. Later that year, he teamed up with Samuel Chase and other anti-British members of the House to form a Provisional Convention that would seize power over Maryland’s government. After two years of tireless lobbying, he won the support needed to sway the vote within the Convention, leading to him and his Maryland colleagues signing the Declaration of Independence.
Paca was elected Governor of Maryland in 1782 and went on to become one of the wealthiest men in America. In 1787, he authored the provisions in the Bill of Rights for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and legal protection for citizens accused of crimes. Paca died in 1799 at his estate on Wye Island.
The William Paca House and Garden in Annapolis were painstakingly restored by Historic Annapolis in 1965, in order to allow visitors to experience the look and feel of a well-appointed colonial mansion, replete with period paintings, furnishings, and architectural details.
The two-acre garden features terraced landscapes recreated from historical architectural studies, and is filled with native and heirloom plants, with a beautiful Summerhouse, reachable by a latticework bridge.
Know Before You Go
William Paca House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and is regarded as one of the finest 18th Century homes in in United States.
The house is open for tours between 10am-5pm Monday through Saturday, and 11am-5pm on Sunday, though hours are subject to change based on weather or special events. The website provides details on admission.