A Walking Tour of Vienna, Maryland
by Doug Gelbert
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Vienna, Maryland is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions.
Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
Rich in tradition and history, this region was first mentioned by Captain John Smith in his journals during his exploration of the Nanticoke River in 1608. This tract of land was a portion of ten thousand acres along the north shore of the Nanticoke River granted by Charles Calvert to Lord Baltimore. The entire tract was patented in 1664 as Nanticoke Manor. In 1671, the Colonial Assembly recommended this point as a ferry crossing.
A village on the western bank of the Nanticoke River in southeastern Dorchester County was known simply as “the town on the Nanticoke River” until being decreed by the Colonial Assembly as Vienna on July 11, 1706. The town thrived as a port capable of handling large ships carrying goods from England, and then also as a trade center when a tobacco warehouse was built in 1762. Vienna was the site of the first shipyard on the Nanticoke River.
Its importance to commerce and trade was evident when it was attacked by British vessels at least five times during the Revolutionary War, taking ships and provisions. The only Revolutionary military casualty on Dorchester soil, Levin Dorsey, died on these shores, hit by a shot fired from a British vessel. In the War of 1812, Vienna was again attacked by British forces.
Present day Vienna is no longer a commercial hub of Maryland. Much of the past architecture survives, and a determined effort has restored the physical qualities of many homes as our walking tour through this historic residential town will demonstrate...
- Doug Gelbert, March 2011
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