Old Images of Annapolis, Maryland

old photos and film of Annapolis Maryland

Glimpse history through old images and vintage films of the city of Annapolis, Maryland.

Annapolis, the capital of the US State of Maryland, is a small city on the Chesapeake Bay. From the first colonial settlers in the 1600s, to the Revolutionary War, to its famous Naval Academy, Annapolis has a rich and well documented past. 

Spend a few minutes watching a concise and fascinating summary of the history of Annapolis. It’s presented by historian and author Jane Wilson McWilliams.

C-SPAN Cities Tour – Annapolis: “Annapolis, City on the Severn: A History”, posted to YouTube by C-SPAN

Lord Jellicoe at Annapolis (1920)

The title card of this silent black and white footage from 1920 announces “Lord Jellicoe in USA – Hero of Rutland reviews US Naval Academy”. 

In 1918 John Jellicoe, the son of a captain in the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, was created Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa Flow.  It was the same year his sixth child – and first son, who therefore later inherited the title – was born.

Admiral John Jellicoe left England in 1919 for a world tour, which lasted about a year. It included the trip to Annapolis in 1920. 

Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

“Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, GCB, OM, GCVO, SGM, DL (5 December 1859 – 20 November 1935) was a Royal Navy officer. He fought in the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Boxer Rebellion and commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 during the First World War. His handling of the fleet at that battle was controversial. Jellicoe made no serious mistakes and the German High Seas Fleet retreated to port, at a time when defeat would have been catastrophic for Britain, but the public was disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a more dramatic victory given that they outnumbered the enemy. Jellicoe later served as First Sea Lord, overseeing the expansion of the Naval Staff at the Admiralty and the introduction of convoys, but was relieved at the end of 1917. He also served as the Governor-General of New Zealand in the early 1920s.”


1920s Annapolis Home Movie

This silent home movie was made in the 1920s. The family’s grandson posted the film to YouTube, and Glenn Campbell of the Historic Annapolis Foundation helped identify some of the locations seen.

They include Bancroft Hall, the Chapel, and Mahan Hall, all at the Naval Academy. There too is the station ship Reina Mercedes. The Carvel Hall Hotel appears at the end.

“Visit to Annapolis, mid to late 1920s”, posted to YouTube by lipwak

The Carvel Hall Hotel After The Fire (1937)

This is a quick snippet of home movie footage showing the Carvel Hall Hotel after it was damaged by fire in 1937.

Carvel Hall on Prince George Street, was erected in 1763 by William Paca, signatory of the Declaration of Independence and three-term governor of Maryland. He personally designed much of the house himself.

When the Naval Academy was expanded in 1901, a real estate agent and his architect son spotted an opportunity to make the Paca House and garden the largest lodging, dining and entertainment site in town. Now named after the title character in an 1899 bestseller set in Annapolis, Carvel Hall was popular with navy familes.

On 21 November 1937, Carvel Hall suffered damage from a serious fire. The footage of the aftermath isn’t great quality, but remember this is a home movie made in 1937. It has been posted to YouTube by the filmmaker’s grandson.

The fire did not destroy Carvel Hall, which continued trading until 1965. Then a decade of planning and reconstruction restored the site to its original appearance. Thanks to non-profit organization Historic Annapolis, visitors today can tour the charming William Paca House and Garden.

Carvel Hall Hotel, Annapolis, MD, after November 21, 1937 fire, posted to YouTube by lipwak.

1940s Naval Academy 

In postwar technicolour, this 1940s recruitment film shows many different aspects of the Naval Academy and the people who served there. Hundreds of people appear over the 40 minute film.


“It is, by no means, enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He should be, as well, a gentleman of liberal education, refined manner, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honour. He should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness, and charity”.

John Paul Jones (who is buried at the Naval Academy Chapel, Annapolis, Maryland).

President Truman Visits Annapolis (1948)

28-30th May 1948 saw the visit to Annapolis by President Harry S. Truman.

He boarded the presidential yacht, USS Williamsburg, at the Naval Gun Factory, and passed Mt. Vernon on the way to Annapolis. On his arrival he was greeted by Secretary of the Navy, John L. Sullivan. Together they transferred to the ship Lenore, where the presidential party watched the Cornell-Navy crew races and President Truman filmed the races with his movie camera. 

Next, the presidential party watched the Army-Navy baseball game at the Naval Academy, with Truman throwing the first ball.

Then the presidential party boarded the Williamsburg, travelling to Arlington National Cemetery for the Memorial Day services.

MP77-14 President Truman’s Trip to Annapolis, Maryland; posted to YouTube by HarrySTrumanLibrary

Annapolis Drone Footage 2017

Filmed in late 2017, this is gorgeous drone footage of Annapolis’s historic streets and buildings.

The colours pop, the activities and landscapes are eye catching, and the location titles give bearing. Wonderful to watch.

Annapolis in Autumn by Drone posted to YouTube by Josh Post

Discover more about Annapolis on Facebook

Facebook groups and pages are a great place to discuss your memories and discover more about the places you know and love.

Try the following:

Annapolis Discovered

Annapolis Maryland Family History Center

Historian Annapolis

Historic Annapolis

More about Maryland

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