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Annapolis should rebuild Mann's Tavern!

In 1986, the The Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution wanted to place a marker on Mann's Tavern to commemorate the bicentennial of the 1786 Annapolis Convention being held by the Maryland State Archives. Unfortunately, Mann's Tavern was long gone by 1986.

The fact that the marker was instead placed on a structure that didn't even exist in 1786 (today's Annapolis Masonic Lodge, built a year later in 1787), serves to remind us of the tragic loss of one of the most historically significant buildings in the long history of this city almost a hundred years after it burned down.
The City Hotel, circa 1860.
In 1903, Mann's Tavern, where General George Washington stayed when he came to Annapolis to resign his commission before Congress on December 23, 1783, and where the 1786 Annapolis Convention called for a Constitutional Convention, was converted into the Colonial Theater.
The Colonial Theater, 1919.

The Colonial Theater burned down sometime between 1:00am and 5:00am on January 17, 1919.

Despite the significance of the 1786 Annapolis Convention, Mann's Tavern was never rebuilt.

The exterior of Mann's Tavern:

Circa 1786

Circa 1886
The interior of Mann's Tavern:
This 1812, article describes the interior of the "Old" House (the original home built by Henry Woodward). There were “three large dining rooms, a bar, bar-room and dressing room” on the first floor. When George Mann purchased the "Old" House in 1783, it appears he converted the second floor into a large “sitting room" that served as the site for three major events that we know for sure took place there:

* George Washington's lodging in Annapolis when he came to resign his Army commission before Congress, including President Thomas Mifflin. When he arrived in Annapolis on December 19, 1783 he checked into Mann's Tavern. This was about three months after the Treaty of Paris was signed in France. Washington resigned as Commander-in-Chief on December 23, 1783 and retired to Mount Vernon. Whenever he came back to Annapolis, he stayed at Mann's Tavern.


* The September 11-14, 1786 Annapolis Convention, where delegates from 5 states, led by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton--meeting just after Shays' Rebellion had started--decided that the Articles of Confederation could not be amended properly and called for the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that ended the Treaty of Paris Period.


After Henry Woodward's death, Henrietta Maria Dulany, bought the property. After she died, her son Lloyd Dulaney inherited the house. However, because Lloyd Dulaney was a Loyalist during the Revolution, his home was confiscated while he was in London (he would later die in London after a duel). George Mann then bought the home in 1783 and turned it into a tavern.

In 1791, when Washington returned to Annapolis as president, he stayed in the "New" House, what is now the Annapolis Masonic Lodge, built in 1787. The "New" House had “twelve rooms with fireplaces” and “two rooms without fireplaces.” The stables were located directly behind the "Old" House.

Visitors to Annapolis should be able to see where these historically
important events took place, rather than simply hear about them on a
walking tour. Annapolis should rebuild Mann's Tavern as a place where
visitors can experience the entire Treaty of Paris Period
(1783-87).

Virtual Tour of a new Mann's Tavern

Click on the interior animation below, designed by the architects at Murphy & Dittenhafer, to see the inside of

a new Mann's Tavern--including the downstairs "Colonial Theater" showing the 15-minute Annapolis City TV video

as an orientation film, and the historic upstairs Meeting Room where the 1786 Annapolis Convention took place:

Mann’s Tavern needs to be rebuilt before a full century has passed!

The site today:

         Gravel parking lot            /       John Callahan House
Sharing the spot where Mann's Tavern once stood is the John Callahan House, which was moved to this location in 1972 (it had been at St. John's College). The Whitehall company owns this building and the gravel parking lot to the left of it, enclosed by a wooden fence, which is used it for employee parking. To the left of the gravel parking lot is a city parking garage (not visible). In front of the gravel parking lot and the John Callahan House is a one-way side street that serves as an entrance into and an exit from the parking garage. Mann's Tavern can be rebuilt by creating an exact replica of the first one on the original site, what is currently the gravel parking lot.
                     John Callahan House  /  Masonic Lodge
The building on the right is today's Annapolis Masonic Lodge on Conduit Street. On the left, next door to the Lodge, is the front entrance to the John Callahan House, which looks similar to the attachment to Mann's Tavern that also burned down in 1919 and thus it would allow a rebuilt Mann's Tavern to look almost identical to the old picture at the very top left of this web page. However, unlike the old attachment, the John Callahan House building would not connect to a rebuilt Mann's Tavern; it would continue to be self-contained with its own entrance, and the loss of the gravel parking lot would be compensated for with special permit parking on Conduit Street.
We believe that a marker should be placed on the gravel parking lot so that people walking by will know what used to be there.
Here is a draft version of the proposed marker (click to enlarge).

Below are two exterior animations to show how a new Mann's Tavern
could easily replace the gravel parking lot enclosed by a wooden fence:

Click on this image to see how the property looks now:
Click on this image to see the new Mann's Tavern:
At a new Mann's Tavern, the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87) can be re-discovered.
Between Paris and Philadelphia, the road to the new United States came through Annapolis, the first peacetime capital of an officially independent United States. Annapolis is literally the "middle" of "the Road to the Constitution," a Bridge between the Revolution and the Constitution. One of the most important places on that Bridge was Mann's Tavern, where the 1786 Annapolis Convention, consisting of 12 delegates from 5 states and led by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, called for a new Constitution to be written at a second convention to meet the following year in Philadelphia. Today, the site where Mann's Tavern once stood is a gravel parking lot next to the Annapolis Masonic Lodge no. 89. This gravel parking lot should either be converted into a new Mann's Tavern by one or more of the following entities: the company that owns it, the National Park Service, the state of Maryland, Anne Arundel County or the city of Annapolis. A rebuilt Mann’s Tavern could tell the story of the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87).
When Mann’s Tavern burned down on January 17, 1919, why was it never rebuilt? The Maryland State House is the Independence Hall of Annapolis and it is rightly being restored to its original condition. The William Paca House is the Mount Vernon of Annapolis; it, too, was completely restored. The original Governor Charles Calvert House built in the early 18th century was purchased and restored (in the mid-19th century by the Mayor of Annapolis, Abram Claude). Mann’s Tavern is equal in importance to Monticello, Arlington House or even Ford’s Theater--which was painstakingly recreated. It has been almost 100 years since Man's Tavern burned down. In that time a new Recreation Center has been built and an entire shopping center has been constructed at Parole. Isn't it time to rebuild the place that held the conference that called for the 1787 Constitutional Convention?
A proposal: Rebuild Mann's Tavern on the vacant lot in between the city's parking garage and the John Callahan building. Create a first floor with three large rooms that would house a Welcome Center--a theater for an orientation film, a gift shop and a bar-style cafe. Create a second floor consisting of a re-creation of the conference room where the 12 delegates from 5 states met during the 1786 Annapolis Convention and a second room that could be rented out for both community and private events. Have the walls of Mann's Tavern serve as an interpretive center by explaining the importance of the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87) with interactive touch screens, short films, documents and portraits.

The interior animation was designed by the architects at
Murphy & Dittenhafer in Baltimore, Maryland.


Tell the city of Annapolis that they should rebuild Mann's Tavern!
Mark Croatti is available to come and speak to your class, school, college or community about "The Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87)" or provide a walking tour for any size group (even 2 or 3 people) covering the following events:

* 1783: The Treaty of Paris is signed in France, Congress arrives and George Washington's resigns as Commander-in-Chief.
* 1784
: The Treaty of Paris is ratified in Annapolis and Thomas Jefferson is appointed to France.
* 1785: Maryland and Virginia sign the Mount Vernon Compact.
* 1786
: The Annapolis Convention meets after Shays' Rebellion begins.
* 1787: Shays' Rebellion ends and the Constitutional Convention starts.

Rates

To come speak: Negotiable.
Walking tours: Individuals: $10 each / Under 18: $8 each / Group of 10: $80 / Group of 15: $100 / Group of 20 or more: $120.

To book Mark Croatti to speak or provide a walking tour, email: presidentsbeforewashington@gmail.com

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presidentsbeforewashington@gmail.com