Historic London Town & Gardens
Visit a "lost" colonial town and garden sanctuary on the South River
Historic London Town & Gardens
Photo of couple at Revolutionary London Town 2018 by Bob Peterson Photography
ANNUAL REPORT: FY2018
Thank You from Executive Director Rod Cofield
2018 was another memorable year at Historic London Town & Gardens! We educated and entertained over 23,000 people (and at least 233 dogs) through our school and group tours, public programs, weddings & rentals, and general visitation. While most of our visitors are from Anne Arundel County, we welcomed people from across the state of Maryland and beyond.
The following are just some of the highlights of an amazing year:
Rod Cofield by Bob Peterson Photography
William Brown House with Scaffolding, 2018
WILLIAM BROWN HOUSE PRESERVATION & BUILD THE BAR CAMPAIGN
Last year, we started the first phase of a major preservation effort on the c.1760 William Brown House. The project repaired moisture damage to the building. This included repairing (or replacing) rotted wood in the exterior windows as well as repointing the brickwork. We also fixed some rotted joists and deteriorating brick supports in the attic.
We worked with Worcester-Eisenbrandt (WEI). Based in Baltimore, WEI specializes in historic house restoration and renovation. They've worked on the Washington National Cathedral, Mount Vernon, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
We are now preparing for the second phase of work, which will focus on upgrading the house’s electrical and HVAC systems.
We are grateful for the support of former County Executive Steve Schuh, the Anne Arundel County Council, Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks, Senator Pam Beidle, Senator John Astle, the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, Preservation Maryland, and our many donors who contributed funds to this project.
Chris Holmgren in the Carpenter Shop, photo by Bob Peterson
While work continues on the building, Chris Holmgren of Seneca Creek Joinery will soon begin constructing the Brown House’s “lost” bar. Originally an upscale tavern, the Brown House has long been missing its cage-style bar.
Thank you to the many donors who contributed to our first ever crowdfunding campaign to rebuild the bar. Because of you, $18,537 was raised to Build the Bar in the William Brown House. You exceeded the goal by 24%!
Ribbon Cutting of the Davidsonville Ruritan Garden Pavilion. From left to right: Ric Anthony, Anne Arundel County, Recreation & Parks; Bernard Lammers, Davidsonville Ruritan; Bob Leib, previous board president
DAVIDSONVILLE RURITAN GARDEN PAVILION & NATURE PROGRAMMING
In 2018, we also cut the ribbon on the new Davidsonville Ruritan Garden Pavilion. Located where the Entry Walk meets the Winter Walk, this open-air pavilion will seat up to 50 people.
The new pavilion will be particularly crucial for our upcoming nature-related field trip programs. Beginning this fall, students will discover a love for the natural world during interactive field trips to the gardens. This new educational program will complement our current colonial history field trips, which welcome nearly 6,000 students, teachers, and chaperones annually.
Thank you to the Lothian Ruritan, Davidsonville Ruritan, Four Rivers Heritage Area, and individual donors for providing funding towards adding nature programming. Thank you to the Davidsonville Ruritan for the new pavilion and to the Four Rivers Garden Club for funding to enhance the plantings surrounding it.
Magnolia in the gardens
SUPPORT FOR THE GARDENS
Thank you to all of the donors and volunteers who supported the gardens. Additionally, thank you to the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage, Unity Gardens, and Stanley Smith Horticulture Trust for granting funds to the gardens in 2018.
Your support has introduced many new features into the gardens, including enhancing the Spring Walk, improving the bio-retention ponds and adding a new bio-swale, removing invasive plants, creating new pathways, and adding to the collections.
Additionally, thank you to the donors who raised funds at last year’s Privateer Party to fund a horticulture intern this summer. And save the date for this year’s Privateer Party on Friday, November 8th. We’ll again be seeking donations during the “Fund-a-Need” for another horticulture intern in 2020.
Vegetables with Yellow Blossoms, James Peale, 1828, Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library
DEMONSTRATION GARDEN: THE GLOBAL GARDEN
We were also grateful for grants received in 2018 from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County and Four Rivers Heritage Area for the creation of a new demonstration garden in the historic area. You will be able to enjoy new exhibits every few years in this space.
The first exhibit The Global Garden opened on August 15th. The Global Garden uses art, history, and horticulture to examine London Town’s role in a burgeoning international economy. In the late 18th century, James Peale, brother Charles Wilson Peale, and nephew Raphaelle were part of colonial America’s most successful artistic dynasty. They celebrated the abundance of the New World in their still life paintings. In the process, they also demonstrated the international nature of the new nation. Their paintings featured plants from across the world.
You can explore reproductions of paintings by the Peales’ alongside growing examples of the plants themselves. The space is truly an intersection of the arts, history, and horticulture.
Additional thanks to Level Green Landscaping for providing so much pro-bono labor to ensure the project’s success.
Last year, London Town began working with Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks to manage a new historic property, the Gresham Estate.
Located about 10 minutes from London Town's main site, the Gresham Estate was constructed by John Gresham II in the late 1600s, the same time that London Town was beginning to thrive. Over the years, the Estate has been owned by several families, most notably Commodore Isaac Mayo, who lived in the house until his death in 1861. Most recently, it's been restored by Leon Johnson of Johnson Pools and his family.
Join us on Sunday, October 13 from 12 - 4pm for our first Public Open House day. Tickets are $10 - General Admission; $5 - Member; and Free - Children ages 7 and under. You can sign up in advance here.
Girl smelling camellias, photo by Jess Lombardi
WHAT’S COMING NEXT?
We continue to use our 2017 Operations and Capital Improvement Plan as a guideline for a great future at London Town, and there are additional exciting projects already in the works to expand and improve the visitor experience. These include:
designing a new open-air educational pavilion, with generous support from the Phillips Charitable Foundation
designing a new horticulture complex, thanks to the Maryland Heritage Area Authority
an expanded parking lot thanks to Anne Arundel County
You can check out the Operations and Capital Improvement Plan at www.historiclondontown.org/2027
We couldn’t have achieved all of this without our family of supporters. Cumulatively, your giving equaled $585,941! This included donations (restricted and unrestricted), fundraisers, grants and corporate giving. Note that this amount includes funds from Anne Arundel County and the State of Maryland. A list of donors is available here.
I welcome you to visit London Town often this year and beyond. We continue hosting great programming and will increase our efforts to preserve and share this unique history and beautiful gardens. Thank you!
LONDON TOWN BY THE NUMBERS: 2018
Net Assets: $620,168
2018 Total Revenue: $1,063,805
13% Program Services Revenue: $139,953
Admissions and Tours: $77,648
Museum and Garden Programs: $34,196
55% Donations, Grants, & Fundraising Events: $585,941
Donations & Grants: $118,408
Government Grants: $429,374
Fundraising Events: $38,159
32% All Other Earned Revenue: $337,911
2018 Total Expenses: $969,827
79% Program Services: $769,905
15% Management and General Expenses: $148,835
6% Fundraising Expenses: $51,087
Financials for fiscal year 2018 (January 1 - December 31, 2018) are based on the draft 2018 990. Financials for FY18 have not yet been audited.
The number of people who took advantage of free admission through our Library Pass and Blue Star Museum program. 280 active military members and their families who visited London Town for free between Memorial Day and Labor Day, while 304 people checked out a four person pass from any of Anne Arundel County’s public libraries. Thanks to the WaWa Foundation for underwriting support of the Blue Star Museums program. Photo by Bob Peterson at Revolutionary London Town 2018
Thanks to everyone who partied like a privateer at London Town’s annual benefit, raising over $40,000 - a new record! This year’s Privateer Party will be on Friday, November 8th. Sign up at www.historiclondontown.org/privateerparty. Photo by Joy Michelle Photography
Volunteers contributed over 5,493 hours with our public programs, as docents, in the gardens, with administrative tasks, and for special events.Their efforts are valued at more than $157,388! Source: Independent Sector. Maryland’s value of volunteer time at $28.65 an hour
5,275 School Tour Visitors
How many school tour visitors discovered colonial history in their own backyard. About half of the students were 4th and 5th graders from Anne Arundel County, but London Town educated students from across Maryland.
SAYING GOOD-BYE TO VICKI LERCH
Victoria “Vicki” Lerch has retired after 35 years of involvement with Historic London Town and Gardens. For the past 16 years of her tenure, she has served as the curator of the William Brown House (c.1760). Originally a large brick tavern providing food, drink, and lodging to local residents and travelers, the William Brown House is the crown jewel of London Town’s historic area -- with Vicki at its heart.
Remarkably, she’s been with the William Brown House for a longer period of time than its eponymous creator had lived there. And while William Brown lost his building to bankruptcy in the 1780s, Vicki is heading out on a high note. She just saw through the first phase of a major preservation effort on the National Historic Landmark.
Learn more about her and her husband J.J. Bernard Lerch, III's amazing involvement with London Town here.
J.J. Bernard & Victoria Lerch, III in the William Brown House
New Victoria Lerch William Brown House Collections Fund
London Town is proud to announce the new Victoria Lerch William Brown House Collections Fund. Donations will care for and add to the William Brown House’s material culture collection: acquiring new items (reproduction or from the time period); curatorial care for items; and other services related to caring for the collections. Please consider making a contribution in honor of Vicki here.
THANK YOU TO OUR 2018 SUPPORTERS
This list acknowledges all donors and members who have contributed more than $500 in donations and memberships in 2018. We are grateful for their support.
Grants are listed in the year they are awarded as opposed to when the awarded amount is distributed.
Anne Arundel County Parks & Recreation
State of Maryland
$7,500 - $99,999
Arts Council of Anne Arundel County
Maryland Heritage Areas Authority
$2,500 – 7,499
Four Rivers Heritage Area
Charlie and Kelli Kreter
J.J. Bernard & Victoria Lerch, III
$1,000 – 2,499
George W. Anderson Jr.
Joe & Tessie Ballard
F. Rawson Carter Jr
William & Nancy Carter
The Entwistle Family
Maureen & David Konschnik
The McLefresh Family
Mary Kay Robertson & Paul Kjolseth
Margaret Ann Ross
Cyrena & Stoney Simons
Gordon & Susanne Smith
United States Marine Corps Historical Company
Level Green Landscaping
Main and Market
Bob Peterson Photography
Seneca Creek Joinery
Eric Stocklin Photography
United States Marine Corps Historical Company
University of Maryland Extension
$500 - 999
Barrett & Anne McKown
Pam Bell & Greg Townsend
James W. Cheevers
Larry & Ruth Claussen
Dogwood Acres Pet Retreat
Bryan & Pat Dowell
Christian* & Linda Elkington
Maureen Flanagan & Jack Weaver
Janice & Gary Jobson
Art Little & Barbara Tymkiw
Michele & Todd Miller
John & Martha Schwieters
Karen M. Whaley, CPA
In-Kind Support $500+
American Fundraising Foundation
Annapolis Design Studio
Dogwood Acres Pet Retreat
Eastport Oyster Boys
Christian & Linda Elkington
Hank & Catriona Gundlach
Ken's Creative Kitchen