Repairs Underway at 1760 William Brown House on South River

A half-million-dollar preservation project is underway at the William Brown House, circa 1760.

Part of Historic London Town and Gardens, the Brown House is one of the oldest structures in Anne Arundel County, and has been plagued by water damage for most of its 250-year life. It needs its mortar joints repointed and window sashes restored, as well as repairs to the attic.

The first phase of repairs will cost $250,000 and is expected to take just under six months. The funds are being split down the middle by the county and the state.

Londontown has also raised $38,000 for additional work, including the reconstruction of the tavern’s “lost bar.”

Well-known Baltimore firm Worcester-Eisenbrandt will repair the building. They have worked with the Washington National Cathedral, Patterson Park Pagoda, and Mount Vernon. 

The Georgian-style William Brown House is named for its original owner, who ran it as an upscale tavern. During the colonial period, it was along the main road up and down the East Coast. Beginning in the 1820s, and all the way through 1965, the Brown House served as the county’s almshouse, where poor and mentally ill people lived. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark where 15,000+ people visit to explore colonial life each year.

“The William Brown house is a unique building,” says executive director Rod Cofield. “It allows visitors to experience over 200 years of history and personal stories… This preservation work will ensure the building’s survival for the next generation of Marylanders to experience.”

After the first phase of repairs finishes, a second phase will begin in 2019. Worcester-Eisenbrandt will return to update the Brown House’s electrical and HVAC systems, to cost $275,000. In total, the Brown House preservation project will cost more than $563,000 and last for more than two years. London Town says it will keep the Brown House open to the public for as much as possible during the work.

To follow the Brown House’s progress, you can check out London Town’s soon-to-be-launched blog (along with more information) by clicking here.

-Meg Walburn Viviano