Tour to give visitors a glimpse of history


"What I think is so interesting about Chestertown is that people live with their history," says Nancy Nunn, curator of the Kent County Historical Society. The society's 22nd annual Candlelight Walking Tour, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, will give visitors to the Eastern Shore town an idea of what it's like to live with the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

The streets will be closed to vehicles, so that visitors will be free to walk the streets of this historic port town. Nine of the 16 buildings on this year's tour date from the 18th century; these include several private homes, the Hynson-Ringgold house, the White Swan Tavern (now a bed-and-breakfast inn), Emmanuel Church, and the Geddes-Piper House, the historical society's headquarters. The original Geddes, explains Anne Burris, the tour's chairperson, was the Loyalist owner of the ship that figured in Chestertown's very own Revolutionary War "tea party."

The tour will also take in three Victorian-era buildings -- including the circa-1840 Rogers and Skipp law office, in which five generations of the same family have practiced; three waterside homes from the early 1900s, and a cruciform church that is a landmark in Eastern Shore Black Methodism.

The buildings will be illuminated by candles and, Ms. Nunn says, "We will have docents who will explain some of the history of the houses, as well as some of the history of the town. People will be able to see how the different houses tied in to the town's history as it evolved from a port of call in the 1700s to the town they will find today."

All of the houses are within easy walking distance of each other. The tour can begin at any of the houses, and will take place rain or shine. Visitors are requested not to take photographs, eat, drink or smoke in any of the houses, and to wear flat-heeled shoes.

Refreshments will be served throughout the evening at the Geddes-Piper House.

Admission is $15, which includes a map and brochure. On the day of the tour, two ticket booths will be set up on High Street, one at the corner of High and Queen streets, the other in front of Emmanuel Church, High and Cross streets. Tickets may be reserved by calling (301) 778-3499.

Proceeds will benefit the historical society, which maintains the Geddes-Piper House museum and a genealogical library, and offers educational programs for children and adults.

For more information about the tour, call the society, (301) 778-3499.

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