Orlando Ridout V
John Callahan House
164, Conduit Street, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
Distinguished in the City of Annapolis for its unusual gable-end principal façade and its largely intact Georgian/Federal interior finishes, the John Callahan house, built around 1785-90, has been moved twice in efforts to prevent its demolition. Originally erected on the corner of Tabernacle (College) and Lawyer (Bladen) Streets, the house was relocated to St. John’s Street in 1900-01, and then to its present site on Conduit Street in 1972. The well-crafted Flemish and English bond elevations are marked by regularly spaced 12/12 and 12/8 sash window openings featuring brick jack arches undercut with a segmental arch. The pedimented front entrance is particularly noteworthy with its fluted pilasters that rise to a Doric frieze articulated with triglyphs. Fixed in the upper gable end is a round-arched window with interlacing muntins. The house is significant also for its intact interiors of 1780s Georgian-Federal woodwork. The first and second floors follow a four-room disposition with the stairhall located in the front, southwest corner. The cylindrical turned newel post and three rectangular balusters per tread support a molded handrail that ramps as it meets the first landing. The stringer is embellished with a Federal scroll decoration. Also distinguishing the interior are built-in shutters on the first floor and original six-panel doors, ogee backband surround moldings, and several original mantels.
Credit for the construction of this well-appointed brick house is awarded to John Callahan (c. 1754-1803), a prominent and wealthy Annapolitan who served as the Register of the Western Shore Land Office between 1778 and 1803. The John Callahan House is a significant example of colonial craftsmanship and design, and ranks among the major architectural monuments of Annapolis.