Officially titled the Colonial Annapolis Historic District, it was created as a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and it was expanded in 1984.
The Historic Preservation Commission of the City of Annapolis helps safeguard the city’s unique streetscape, broad waterfront, and three centuries of architecture, reviewing applications for development within the historic district.
The Historic Annapolis Foundation also plays a key role in maintaining the character of this community. They worked with the Commission to shape the Annapolis Municipal Code that governs historic preservation, and they also help to ensure that the code and other guidelines are followed. They review all applications to the Commission, make recommendations, and provide public testimony at hearings.
According to the Maryland Historic Trust directory of National Register Listings in Maryland,
Departing from the grid pattern characteristic of many American towns, the planners of Annapolis adopted a modified baroque plan, first applied by French baroque designers in garden layout, as at Versailles. This influence soon spread to England and was adapted by Christopher Wren and John Evelyn for the rebuilding of London after the 1666 fire. In the accepted planning practice of this style, the highest and most commanding locations were reserved for the State House and St. Anne’s Church. The focal point was a large (528′ diameter) public circle where the State House would stand dominating harbor and town. Nearby was a smaller (340′ diameter) circle set aside for the publicly supported Anglican church. From the two circles a system of radial streets extended outwards toward the edges of town. Those leading directly into State Circle have a pinwheel alignment, so no one is directly on axis with the center of the circle.
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