At the Foot of Prince George Street: The Burtis House, Hell Point, and Climate Change


Annapolis is redeveloping its City Dock area into an elevated green space. The city will create preventative measures that protect the downtown area from rising sea levels. These measures include reconfiguring the stormwater system, elevating sea-level walls, and building storm surge gates. This redevelopment plan is a multi-phase initiative that provides for preserving and adapting for future use of the historic Burtis House, located at 69 Prince George Street. The Captain William Burtis House is ideally located to share the story of the history of Annapolis. As the sole surviving historic waterman’s home situated on City Dock, this property can assist visitors in understanding the Chesapeake way of life’s past, present, and future. With the redevelopment of the City Dock area, the Burtis House and site can become a welcoming and attractive place to learn about the region’s history. Due to its location, Burtis House has endured intermittent flooding, and it is vulnerable to sea level rise, subsidence, and tidal surges. Therefore, the building must be safeguarded against coastal flooding and stabilized until its use is determined. Preservation Maryland is leading the Burtis House initiative in partnership with the City of Annapolis and the National Park Service Chesapeake office. In 2021 Preservation Maryland issued a request for proposal for Phase 1 of this project. This first phase prioritizes the stabilization of the structure and preservation of the existing historic fabric from the effects of climate change for future adaptive reuse. Preventative measures against the impacts of climate change include raising Burtis house by four feet, water infiltration measures, and other defenses. As part of this phase, Preservation Maryland was looking for professional consultant services to conduct historical research on the context of the Burtis House and the neighborhood around it. The study would be utilized in interpretive panels placed around the house as work was being done. The University of Maryland’s Historic Preservation Studio class (HISP 650) responded to Preservation Maryland’s request for proposal for consultant services and was accepted. This report is the result.


This studio project includes a final report and abridged report that was submitted to Preservation Maryland.