About Our Theatre
Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre (ASGT) traces the history of our site at 143 Compromise Street back to 1696, when it was designated as wharfage. Several different structures followed, but the current building – actually two buildings that were later combined – was probably constructed around the time Compromise Street was platted in 1837.
The wharfage designation allowed the owner of the land abutting the water to create property by filling in the water to construct a business to aid in the development of the port of Annapolis. The brick side of the current structure dates from about 1800 and sits over the ruins of an earlier warehouse owned by members of the Charles Carroll family. The frame portion was built later. The historic brick wall on the western edge of the property is built to support what was once a promenade along the waterfront. The site served many functions over time, and was Shaw’s Blacksmith Shop until the early 1960s when the Shaw family moved their business to the suburbs and sold the property. It was owned by the Board of Education from 1962 until 1973, and by Anne Arundel County from 1973 until 1990. The theatre rented the property from 1967 to 1990 and has owned it since 1990. The Board of Directors and countless volunteers from the community lovingly maintain the building, theatre, and courtyard garden.
The ASGT property is both a cultural and historic landmark. A 1963 archeological survey by H. T. Wright III for Historic Annapolis said that the building is “certainly the anchor at the base of the entire dock-side façade, and is important as the first element in the authentic scale and appearance of the old harbor and its environs.” A 1983 architectural survey by Russell Wright for the Maryland Historical Trust described the building as a “vernacular utilitarian structure of great importance to the streetscape and the role of the waterfront in the development of Annapolis.”