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St. Mary's Chapel

Location: St. Mary's City, Maryland

Period: 1660's

National Historic Landmark

In 1996, as part of an overall plan to reconstruct the chapel; the firm was retained to provide the St. Mary’s City Foundation with a plausible design based on the foundation plan and the remains of building fragments found by archaeologists. All available contemporary and European records and images were carefully researched before schematic designs were completed. Subsequently, the architects undertook field investigations of contemporary brick structures in England and Flanders. The design was then further developed, and reconstruction commenced in September of 2002. Completion was largely achieved in 2009.


Construction techniques, materials, and assemblies accurately replicating late-17th century building technology were used at the chapel. Face bricks were produced using clay dug from the site. Oyster shells were fired in a wood-burning kiln to produce lime for the mortar. The masonry walls were erected from wooden pole scaffolding lashed together with rope. The terracotta roof tiles were handmade and imported from England. At the completion of the exterior work, the brick walls were color-washed and penciled utilizing a color-wash formula commonly used on masonry buildings in the 17th century.

While it stood, the chapel represented a brief moment of religious tolerance in North America; over one hundred years before the American Revolution. Beneath its floor is the final resting place of Governor Leonard Calvert, one of the founders of Maryland.

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