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Rain showers early will evolve into a more steady rain overnight. Low 41F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%..

Rain showers early will evolve into a more steady rain overnight. Low 41F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%.

CENTREVILLE — Mark your calendar for Dec. 7 for the Holiday Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes, sponsored by the Queen Anne’s County Legacy Foundation.

This year’s theme, “A Rich Life on the River,” will take visitors to the historic Wharf House and river homes with a history dating back to the 1700s when the Corsica was once a bustling hub of maritime commerce. Each home has a unique story to tell and period dressed docents will be prepared to share it with you.

This year’s Holiday Candlelight Tour will also feature professional caroling with Harmony on the Bay, a special exhibitions of “Whimsical Spirit,” historic ornaments, a new downtown shop, Earles Cove Trading Company, a gingerbread house, fine art galleries, and an “International Holidays” exhibition with the Queen Anne’s County Historical Society.

Purchase tickets early. The tour is limited to 300 visitors and sold out by mid-November last year. Early bell tickets are available at Queen Anne’s County Legacy Foundation volunteers receive a complimentary tour. Call 410-671-5317.

The three-story Wharf House built in 1771 was the largest, most grand of the colonial homes in Queen Anne’s County. The Wharf House was built overlooking the headwaters of the Corsica River on 100 acres by William Hopper, a tobacco farmer. It includes a main residence, a summer kitchen and a stone meat house, all beautifully preserved with original hand-carved moulding, paneling, cornices, and six working fireplaces. The kitchen is built around the large original hearth which still displays period cooking utensils and pots.

The history and stories of the Wharf House are filled with the once bustling life of the river, the center of commerce, the tobacco house, and the packet ships traveling to and from Baltimore. The basement even served as the county jail for a time.

Today the Wharf House is the home of Fred and Fern Beu. There is a warmth about the interior of the old home which draws you into a glimpse of Colonial life juxtaposed with the beautiful fine art paintings of Fern Beu and the fine wood working of Fred Beu.

For all who love history in Queen Anne’s County, Providence Farm holds a very special place in our hearts. Today the house is a stunning period restoration with some of the finest wood paneling to survive from the mid-18th century.

Built in 1746, Providence Farm is one of the earliest positively dated buildings in the county. It was originally built by a miller and is situated facing the now silted-in Mill Stream Branch of the Corsica River.

In 2008, Providence Farm was saved from extinction by the Queen Anne’s County Historical Society and Robert and Stewart Wilson with a grant from the National Historical Trust.

The Bankes House sits on the headwaters of the Corsica River at the Centreville Town Wharf, a short distance from the historic Captain’s Houses. This scenic wharf home is three stories set on pilings with a beautiful view overlooking the Corsica River and the wharf.

A rarely shared bit of history is Centreville’s connection to Wall Street in New York City, before it was even Wall Street. A Dutch entrepreneur in New York in the early 1600s made enough money in property on what was to become Wall Street that by 1660 he was able to bring his family here to Centreville to purchase a large parcel of land on the Corsica and become a tobacco farmer and exporter. Before his death he was able to amass most of the property that now makes up the heart of Centreville as well as what is today Symphony Village.

Wheat and cattle were shipped out from the Centreville wharf to feed the American and French troops in the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, the Centreville Wharf was monitored by both sides for its ideal tributaries for smuggling; Centreville’s sympathies divided between North and South.

The Ozmon store is on the National Register of Historic Places. Captain Ozmon was a prominent local merchant who built a considerable business transporting grain and lumber by sailing a schooner between Baltimore, Norfolk, and points on the Eastern Shore. This home is notable as much for the life of Captain Ozmon and the wharf as is it is for the beautiful stick style Victorian Architecture. It is a two-story brick building constructed around 1880 during a time when the wharf was a thriving point of commerce on the Eastern Shore.

A cantilevered porch spans the second story, supported by chamfered stick-style brackets and enclosed with scrolled Victorian sawnwork balusters. The interior of the ground level, where the store was located, remains relatively unchanged, and retains a large steel vault door with a combination lock and heavy handle, decorated with gold stenciling; above the door, in large gold block letters, is inscribed “John H. Ozmon.”

The Walter T. Wright Home is a beloved favorite on the Holiday Candlelight Tour. Each year Debbie and John Cook spend weeks decorating their beautiful home to a unique holiday theme. The Cook Family holiday theme this year is “A Whimsical Christmas.”

The Walter T. Wright house was built in 1893 by a twenty-nine year old merchant who was a partner in “Wright & Lowe,” a hardware store in Centreville. Restored today to the full opulence of the Victorian era, the mansion is one of the finest examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture in the county. It features a distinctive turret, generous gingerbread detail, stained glass windows, and a spiral staircase.

The home of Debora and Stef Scaggiari is a remarkable “must see” on the tour. Debora, a successful decorator for over three decades, and her husband Stef, a renowned jazz and classical pianist, own “Casa Scaggiari.” Built in 1923 as a Sears Roebuck kit house, there is nothing “kit-like” beyond its heritage. Debora and Stef have transformed this charming 82-year old home into a work of art inspired by the “gray scale of the Atlantic” with intermingled antique pieces and fine art.

Born in 1907, the young Charlie West spent much of his boyhood on the town’s wharf area with a family home nearby on Chesterfield Avenue, not unlike Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, following the river traffic, absorbing outrageous local superstitions from the cooks, deck hands, and travelers, seeing melodramas at Ford’s Floating Theater.

The West Family Gallery features a lifetime of the fine art of Anne and Charles West. Among the many beautiful works of art are images of the wharf and the landscapes of Chesterfield as it was in the 1930’s and 40’s. In his painting, Charles West loved the vitality of the French Impressionists. This collection is a rare preserved view of Centreville in a quieter more contemplative time.

Earle’s Cove Trading, the inspiration of Paige Tilghman, is the newest boutique in Centreville, only a stone’s throw from the historic square and across from town parking.

Earle’s Cove Trading Company offers fine art, antiques, and niceties including: hand-milled soaps by Love Byrd, wooden cut puzzles by Peach Blossom, Beeswax Candles, lamps, linens, china, and decorative art. For the Candlelight Tour, Tilghman’s shop will feature a display of fine holiday goods and ornaments.

Earle’s Cove is named for two coves, both located in Queen Anne’s County. Earle’s Cove on the Corsica River was used for commerce providing access to the Wharf, in Centreville. A second Earle’s Cove, at the mouth of Tilghman Creek, may well have provided a hiding spot, under the cover of Carpenters Island, when ships of all origin and purpose slipped up and down the Chesapeake Bay.

Built in 1911 at the close of the Victorian Era, the Frank family home is an outstanding example of the Four Square style of architecture, which became popular between the late 1890’s and the early 1930s. The expansive porches became part of the social fabric of the community during the 20th century in an era of social change, increasing equality and modernization.

Those who sat on the porch in 1911 were witness to a new world of invention from the American automobile, to the increasing rights of women, to the modernization of the electric light, to name a few.

The Stolle Home built in 1910 is a beautiful example of American Foursquare Design popular at the turn of the 20th century. It was the beginning of a new era in design.

This design was the simplest of the Victorian era and focused on indigenous materials. This lead to the popular Craftsman style of today. One of the most beautiful characteristics of this home is the porch spanning the entire front of the home, designed for Sunday visits with a swing perfect for turn of the century “modern” courtship.

St. Paul’s Rectory is a favorite on the tour. Each year Rev. Mary Garner goes all out to decorate the rectory beautifully with cheer and the warmth of candlelight. St. Paul’s Church Rectory was built across from the church on Liberty Street in 1892. St Paul’s Church will also be open, so please come visit.

There once were stables towards the rear of the home and, during World War II, there was a large kitchen garden, aka “Victory Garden,” which extended to the cemetery. At least two of Rev. Hargett’s daughters held their wedding receptions in this terraced garden.

Combination The Fireplace

Queen Anne’s County Historical Society will host an “International Holiday Exhibition” at Wright’s Chance with a look at holidays around the world. Both Wright’s Chance and Tucker House will be open to the public, decked out for a colonial holiday.

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