LEONARDTOWN, Md. (Oct. 6, 2009)—The Board of County Commissioners for St. Mary's County and the St. Mary's County Historic Preservation Commission presented the Historic Preservation Award to the Maryland Province Jesuits, Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus at the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Sept. 29.
Robert Gibbs, Chair of the St. Mary's County Historic Preservation Commission, nominated the Maryland Province for electing to sell all of its holdings to the state of Maryland for public benefit. Father James A. Casciotti. SJ, Socius and Admonitor to the Provincial and Rev. William P. Ryan, S.J. Treasurer of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, accepted the award on behalf of the Maryland Province. This acquisition will provide the citizens of the State of Maryland the opportunity to protect substantial acreage of ecologically important and culturally significant land. The conservation of this land will preserve diverse natural habitats, safeguard wildlife habitats, protect the water quality of Chesapeake Bay, provide public access to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, conserve sustainable forest lands and ultimately provide a lasting legacy to future generations of Marylanders.
The State of Maryland, in partnership with the Conservation Fund (TCF), purchased the properties to conserve some of the most ecologically and historically significant lands in the State known as the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus Properties ("MD Province Properties"). This Award singled out the preservation of the 776 acres of property in Compton. This site has seven miles of waterfront and is contained within the St. Francis Xavier Church and Newtown Manor House Historic District. From this area, English Jesuit priests conducted missionary activities among the Indians and ministered to the needs of the settlers beginning in the 1630's. This District is an example of a self-contained Jesuit community made self-supporting by the surrounding 700+ acre farm. This property has a direct link to the earliest colonial settlement of the State of Maryland and origin of Catholicism in the United States and has been in the continuous ownership of the Society of Jesus since the early 1600's.
This was the tenth annual award program for the St. Mary's County Historic Preservation Commission. Established in the spring of 1999, these awards recognize outstanding achievement and excellence in the field of historic preservation in St. Mary's County. The Historic Preservation Commission was established in 1975 and is comprised of seven members appointed for three-year terms by the County Commissioners.
The mission of the Historic Preservation Commission is to safeguard the heritage of the county by advocating for the preservation of sites, structures, or districts which reflect the elements of its cultural, social, economic, political, archaeological, and architectural history; to stabilize and improve property values of such sites, structures and districts; to foster civic beauty; to strengthen the local economy; to promote the preservation and appreciation of the sites, structures and districts for the welfare and education of the citizens of the county.
Meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. in the Department of Land Use and Growth Management Conference Room of the Patuxent Building (23150 Leonard Hall Drive, Leonardtown). November & December meetings are held on the third Thursday.
For more information on the Historic Preservation Commission, visit www.stmarysmd.com and click on Volunteer Boards under the Government box.
Source: Board of County Commissioners for St. Mary's County