The Victoriana Inn was built in 1865, then known as “Willow Manse”, by Henry Clay Dodson. H.C Dodson, a U.S. Army officer during the Civil War occupied it as his private residence and office.
It was purchased by Normand M. Shannahan in 1911 and kept as their family home, it is also known as the “Shannahan House”.
It remained in the Shannahan estate until 1987 when Janet Bernstein purchased the house and preserved the historic character with major renovations and converted it into a Bed and Breakfast.
Edmund G. Lind a noted Baltimore architect assisted H.C. Dodson with the design of this second Empire style house. It is situated on a slightly higher rise overlooking Navy Point. Navy Point was the sight of two oyster packing houses and a canning factory, which employed many of the original residents of St. Michaels. Navy Point is now the site of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
The Victoriana Inn takes great pride in the many original architectural details that remain intact. A victorian period stairwell with a walnut handrail, original wainscoting, panel doors with transoms, millwork mantels and hard wood floors preserve the beauty of this historic home. Also still intact, located in the basement, is an old dumb waiter which used to serve between the old cellar kitchen and the first floor.
Decorative touches such as its arched dormers, modillioned cornice, and well preserved Colonial Revival porches add to this unusally center hall frame house. Set apart from the other homes in St. Michaels, it illistrates a “by gone” era which is preserved for generations to come.
Henry Clay Dodson – Maryland State Archives
Born October 5, 1840, in St. Michaels, Talbot County, Maryland. Son of Robert A. Dodson. Married Martha Hahn (1840-1902), c. 1864; six children: Henry Clay, Jr. (1868-1919), Hannah K. (b. 1870), Emma H., Hester H., and Clara H. Married Helen W., c. 1903; one child: Helen W., Jr. (b. 1906).
Druggist and businessman in St. Michaels. Postmaster, St. Michaels, 1861-1875. Town Commissioner, St. Michaels. Served in Maryland House of Delegates, 1888 and 1896. Served in Maryland Senate, 1898, 1900 and 1901. Republican.
Fay Wray 1928 – Talbot County Historic Society Facebook Page
Fay Wray co stared with Gary Cooper in “The First Kiss” which was partially filmed in St. Michaels. In the background you will notice the Victoriana Inn at the base of “Honeymoon Bridge”. A Canadian born actress whose career spanned from 1923-1958, 75 films. She was best known for her role in “King Kong” 1933 when she screamed in the gorilla’s grip over the Empire State Building. She died in 2004 at 98 years of age.
Photo from Talbot County Historic Society
This brings us to the Victoriana Inn as we see it today…
We hope to make your stay the most memorable experience possible in beautiful Historic St. Michaels.
205 Cherry Street, St. Michaels, MD 21663
Aida Khalil Trissell Innkeeper