On a 23-acre hillside on Winchester Road in Annapolis stands what once was a historic friary. The Georgian-style mansion built in the 1920s boasts 26 bedrooms and was bought in 2002 by the founder of Phillip’s Foods and president of Phillip’s Seafood Restaurants, Steve Philips and his wife Maxine Davis Phillips, for a cool $2.5 million. Although Phillips has said in interview that he is reluctant to let go of the former friary, the house has now gone on the market for anyone with a spare $25 million.
When the house was purchased in 2002, there was work to be done on not only the mansion itself, but also the sheds, garages, dormitory, tennis court and the overgrown gardens. The original renovations went somewhat over budget. Phillips had estimated that it would cost around $14 million to bring the property up to its full potential. However they spent $32 million, over double their budget. If you have renovations of your own to make, on this site you can compare mortgage lenders to make sure you have enough money to get the work finished to a good standard. The work on the mansion took five and a half years.
The secret tunnels
The mansion has an incredibly interesting past, situated close to the Severn River, it was once a stopping place for the historic Underground Railroad. There is an extensive tunnel system beneath the property used to transport ammunition and alcohol during the prohibition. The mansion was originally built by E.Bartlett Hayward, a wealthy businessman known for his extravagant lifestyle, however he sold it to a group of Franciscan friars in 1945.
Strangely, it was the friars that installed the tennis court, the bowling alley in the basement and the numerous outdoor pizza ovens. In the 1980s, the house changed hands when the friary was disbanded and it was sold to some Japanese investors who turned it into a boarding school for boys — there was much opposition in the community about this and the property was sold again only a few years later. The last owners realized that it would cost too much to renovate and sold it to the Phillips family.
What will you get?
For $25 million you will get a mansion that has been lovingly restored to its former glory full of beautiful old fireplaces, decorative high ceilings and stunning wooden floors. You too can discover the secret tunnels and passages that go straight down to the river – perfect for bootleggers smuggling rum. There is plenty of modern luxury as well – the dormitory was replaced and the land used to build a stunning infinity pool and the basement bowling alley is now an indoor pool and spa. There is also a hidden teak pavilion in the forest area, a music room, a ballroom, a billiards room, a library and a high-spec outdoor kitchen.
The Annapolis mansion is an important piece of the area’s history. It has just been listed by Brad Kappel and Dave DeSantis of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.