Bishop’s House History

Our Maryland bed and breakfast, a circa 1880 Victorian, was built by Captain Edward Roberts for Philip Frances Thomas, (1810-1890), and Clintonia Wright May Thomas, (1826-1902). The Honorable Philip Frances Thomas was the 28th Governor of the State of Maryland from 1848 to 1851, the 1st State of Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury 1851 to 1853, and the 23rd U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, 1860-1861, in the Presidential Cabinet of President James Buchanan. Upon Philip’s death in 1890, the house and property were sold to the Episcopal Church for use as the residence for the Bishop of the Diocese of Easton. Since then, the house has been known as the Bishop’s House, a designation that was used in identifying the house at the formation of the Easton Historic District. Philip Francis Thomas is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Aurora Street, Easton.

The Bishop’s House was purchased in 1986, and the initial two-year restoration program was begun.  This historic inn was opened for business in 1988, and the remaining restoration plan was implemented. Each year a phase of this plan is under taken. The completed work that is visible to our guests includes:

  • Modern fire suppression system (sprinklers and smoke alarms with remote monitoring) throughout the house with exterior fire department connection
  • Standing seam metal roof on wrap-around porch
  • Upgraded electrical service with whole-house surge suppression to protect electronic equipment
  • Installation of commercial kitchen equipment
  • Chimney/flues relined with fireboxes rebuilt to permit use of fireplaces
  • Central air conditioning for common areas
  • Installation of Mitsubishi Electric’s Mr. Slim Split System for individually controlled heat and air conditioning in all guest rooms
  • Installation of Shower Panels featuring multiple jet Showerhead & Bodysprays in all guest room baths
  • Addition of four bathrooms with whirlpool tubs
  • Cable TV and WIFI in all guestrooms
  • Replacement in kind of 32 of 51 windows, (all guest room windows have been upgraded for maximum energy efficiency)
  • New skylight to highlight curving staircase
  • Replacement of missing plaster molding and ceiling medallions in small drawing room and dining room
  • Addition of crown molding, frieze (replica from Department of Treasury), and ceiling medallion (replica of Naval Academy medallion) in entrance hall.
  • Addition of ceiling medallion in a second floor guestroom (replica of Naval Academy medallion)
  • Installation of gas lines/gas fire logs in first floor common areas
  • Faux finishing and marbling of four fireplaces
  • Faux painting and stenciling of walls and ceilings in first floor common rooms
  • Installation of lightening protection with Ben Franklin style rods to maintain historic perspective
  • Addition of a Garden Courtyard with a Fish Pond & Fountain
  • Replacement of wrap-around porch decking using reclaimed lumber
  • Installation of Windsor fence surrounding the Bishop’s House property with driveway and front entrance gates and a cedar fence next to the Garden Courtyard for privacy and quiet response.
  • Replacement and/or addition of 27 pairs of window shutters for the first and second floor windows. The shutters on the first floor are completely functional.

All projects are completed while maintaining “the historic fabric” of the house. Modern conveniences are a necessity to accommodate our guests. We strive, however, to minimize their impact on the original design/fabric of the house. This allows our guests to see how a Victorian house might have looked in the 19th century.

Local History

Easton’s first building, the Third Haven Friends Meeting House, was constructed in 1682 at the headwaters of the Tred Avon River on a Native American trail.  A short time later, the General Assembly authorized a courthouse and the town began to grow.  In 1788; the legislature renamed the town, originally named “Talbot Court House”, to Easton, which became known as “The Colonial Capital of the Eastern Shore.”

Easton has retained its charm through three destructive fires (1810, 1855, and 1878), the coming of the railroads, and wars.  The townspeople are committed to historical preservation so that others might enjoy Easton’s magnificence now and in the future.

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