The City of Annapolis: why they called it Ancient?



1850 Book

Why Ancient?
I skimmed through the pub, and besides the abnormal use of the word "ancient" I did not find anything tremendously interesting. May be you will.
The book was published in 1850. The city of Annapolis was founded in 1649, and incorporated in 1708. Essentially, we are dealing with 150-200 years at the most. This hardly qualifies Annapolis for being ancient. So, why do they call it "ancient?" In the books they play with words like Ancient Metropolis, ancient city, ancient records, etc.

There are plenty of similar, or older age cities in the North America (South America, Europe, or wherever.) Nobody called them ancient, at least it appears nobody did. What's up with Annapolis?


Well-known member
Maybe in 1859 when the citizen wrote it, 150 or so years of history was 'ancient' in a recent post reset world?
Apparently "ancient" means "originating/belonging to before", so it's possible that it originally referred to the Old World and then later just came to mean "very old" in general. A bit like "antediluvian" in some languages.


One way or the other, there probably has to be something we don’t know. Otherwise every 17th, early 18th century city would have been called ancient.


Well-known member
So, first thing that jumped out to me:


I didn't realize that we had set the Prime Meridian in Washington DC before:

The Washington meridians are four meridians that were used as prime meridians in the United States and pass through Washington, D.C.. The four which have been specified are:
  1. through the Capitol
  2. through the White House
  3. through the old Naval Observatory
  4. through the new Naval Observatory.
Washington meridians - Wikipedia


Adapted. Sure.


Bless them, the General Assembly, for improving the building. The book goes on for several more pages, talking about the majesty of the building and historical events that occurred there, and the paintings, yada yada:


Native, eh?


More people playing dress up as Romans. Cosplay has a rich and decadent history.

Also, that native word again! Yes, I know what it is supposed to mean.


Yes, there are additional definitions. What ones were used in the mid-19th century?


I gotta see this cannon!

So, no mention at ALL in this pretty lengthy description of the state house and it's contents about who built the thing.

Construction began in 1772, but was not completed until 1797[3] due to the ongoing American Revolutionary War. The two-story brick Georgian style structure, located inside State Circle, was designed by architect Joseph Horatio Anderson. A small portico juts out from the center of the building, topped by a pediment, with two high arched windows framing the entrance. On both floors, large rectangular windows line the facade. A cornice is topped by another pediment and the sloping roof gives way for a central octagonal drum atop which rests a dome. The large dome is topped by a balustraded balcony, another octagonal drum and a lantern capped by a lightning rod. The rod was constructed and grounded according to the direct specifications of its inventor, Benjamin Franklin.
F'king Ben Franklin, get out of here. Anyway, so this JoHo Anderson guy (not a fake name, at all, so don't even think it) doesn't have much of a wiki. Found this though, seems that some of claimed work may be questionable...:

The only basis for including Joseph Horatio Anderson in this dictionary of Philadelphia architects is his 1770 letter to Rhode Island College (Brown University) wherein he attempted to secure a commission for the proposed "College Edifice" to be erected at Providence. The structure that was erected, 1770-1772, is normally attributed to Robert Smith of Philadelphia. The surviving letter from Anderson reads:
From the Accts in our papers of 22nd Feby-find you are come to a resolution of building at Providence prosumes therefore to tender you my Services, as Architect & Superintendant for that purpose-(if not inguaged) I must confess, my mode of application deviates from ye formalities customary on such occations, such as letters of recommendations &c-for my part think it needless-after informing you of my Appointment as an Architect & Superintendant to the New State House at Annapolis-(BANTA: "to" not "of"... so humble! It's almost like the building preceded his involvement)as well several private edificis particularly one of a grand & Eligant Construction for Jos Gallaway Esq Speaker of ye House of Assemly & being regularly bread to those Sciences-& ye only one upon ye Continant-Prosumes may be of eaquel advantage-For nothing being more desirable & Satisfactory to a Society of Gentlemen then the appropriateing an Accumulated Sum to ye best advantage-(Particularly in Building that may Reflect Honour to ye founders & hand down their Names to Posterity) rather than ye erecting an unmeang Ildigested Plan which not only disgusts the Eyes of every beholder-but raiseth a Contempt for the pretended abilities of the Artist.-Alas I am sorry to find so many Publick Buildings already erected upon ye Continant without Taste or Genius-wch has buried many Thousands of pounds Subscribed with that freedom of Generosity only eaquel to the Americans-I Prosume (from my practical knowledge of the Science as well as my knowledge of several Courts of Europe)-shall not be found Wanting in the Art of pleasing my Imployers & to serve them as well to Establish my Name upon ye Continant-as those were my Motives that Brot me to this Country added to my natural Desire to raising the Obnubilated Science to ye highest pitch of Glory on this Continant-If my Offers meet your Approbation-shall in Consequence of a line directed to me attend your appointment-till then remains
Gentlemen Your Hum Sert
Philadelphia 14 Mar 1770,
Jos Horatio Anderson
Architect at Philadelphia
Anderson is normally associated with Maryland where the State House, St. Anne's Church, and Governor Horatio Sharpe's Whitehall--all in or near Annapolis--have at various times been attributed to him. The reference to a "Grand & Eligant Construction" for loyalist Joseph Galloway (1731-1803) remains to be traced; which of Galloway's houses this might have been is yet to be determined.
The letter is dated two years before "construction" of the Maryland State House began. Fine, but this makes the "after informing you of my Appointment as an Architect & Superintendant to the New State House at Annapolis-" read even more like he's been assigned to an existing structure.


Well-known member
Like Wash. DC, I think Annapolis is ancient. Very much so.
Sorry for the bad spelling on those pics.
Some interesting heavy masonry buildings there. US Naval Academy.
I know that historian John M. Jensen has found some ancient harbors nearby in Maryland.

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