Similar to Annapolis landmarks, Hammond-Harwood House and the William Paca House, the Brice House is an 18th Century Georgian style brick mansion. Other similarities include a five-part structure featuring a large central block, as well as flanking pavilions that have connecting hyphens. Unlike the other two houses, the Brice House’s exterior is notable for its austerity due to its prominent brick walls. In contrast, Brice’s interior is luxurious, which has been credited to the influence of architect William Buckland.
Lawyer James Brice, who served as Annapolis’ mayor during the years of 1782–83 and 1787–88 and Maryland’s active governor in 1792, built the house in 1767 after the passing of his father, Judge Brice. The Brice family owned the house until 1874, when the Martin family bought it. In 1911, Brice was purchased by the owners of the Carvel Hall Hotel of Annapolis. In 1927, St. John’s College acquired and converted the house into faculty apartments. Stanley and Helen Wohl bought the property in 1953, undertaking renovations that restored it to single-family use.
Prominence & Preservation
In 1970, the Brice House was declared a National Historic Landmark. The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen bought the house in 1979, and its successor, the International Masonry Institute, started using the facilities as an office and meeting place. In 1998, archaeology discovered caches of hoodoo, spiritual offerings concealed by slaves. In 2014, Maryland acquired the property, and Historic Annapolis became responsible for the maintenance and management of the landmark.
As Historic Annapolis describes, “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 over-mantel, and interior window shutters. A hidden service stair, similar…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 James Brice House is located in Annapolis’ historic district on 42 East Street. Group tours are by appointment and can be arranged by calling the Historic Annapolis offices at 410-267-7619. They are open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
A B&B Near Brice House
The Brice House is a short walk from Gibson’s Lodgings, a historic inn located in downtown Annapolis. Call us to reserve your bed and breakfast room at our toll free number 877-330-0057. We’ll be very happy to serve you and your family throughout the year.