Lewis Contractors is returning to the historic Maynard Burgess house for the second time, this time to restore the interior of the structure. Having completely restored the wood siding and porch entry a few years ago, Lewis has called upon by the City of Annapolis once again to complete interior renovations to the two rooms on the first floor of the historic home and to add a small restroom addition at the rear of the building. Once again, Lewis will work with historic architect Mimi Giguere of Atelier Giguere and the City to transform the first floor’s two rooms for office and possible museum use.
The historically significant home differs from many other large historic structures in the City and documents the history of two industrious African American families. Originally constructed as a single story structure in the late 18th century, the Maynard Burgess house was relocated to its current position on Duke of Gloucester Street across from Annapolis City Hall in 1838. In 1847, freeborn John Maynard, who added a second story, attic and shed roofed kitchen among many other improvements, purchased it for $400. John was married to Maria Spencer while she, her daughter and mother were enslaved, and, in 1843, he purchased their freedom. In 1860, the City of Annapolis assessment of the house was $1,000 mainly because of Maynard’s constant improvements. Following John’s death in 1875, the family took in boarders to supplement their income and the house remained in the Maynard family until its purchase by Willis Burgess, another African American and former boarder, in 1914. The Burgess family retained ownership of the property until 1990, when it was purchased by the City.
Though it has been vacant for years, all of the historic house’s materials have been stored on site and will be re-used as a part of the restoration. Though much of the new wall finishes will be drywall materials, some original historic plasterwork remains and will be restored. New heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical services will be installed on the second floor, which will be finished at a later date. Evidence of the original privy for the home remains in the yard behind the home and will be protected during the restoration.
Of particular challenge to this small restoration are installation of a new water service, connection to waste water systems, and access to the property that is located on a heavily trafficked street with a very narrow pathway from the front of the home to the backyard. These challenges are not new to Lewis Contractors, which has completed many similar restorations to historic Annapolis structures, including the nearby historic James Brice House currently being restored.