The riverside campus of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Midshipmen were trained at sea before the academy was founded as the Naval School in 1845. The school was established on the site of Fort Severn, a former U.S. Army Post and is now known to West Pointers (The Army's Officer training college,) as, "The Country Club on the Severn!" A little competition between Army and Navy showing here!
During the civil War (1861-1865) Annapolis was considered too close to the battle lines, so the midshipmen were moved to Newport, R.I.
Football games are open to the public but check out the security regulations before going. It is a beautiful campus and worth a tour. The picture is of the entrance and can you imagine my surprise, it's the same place Harrison Ford exited--just before getting shot at--in "Patriot Games?"
Interesting film, extensive gift shop & exhibits greeted us at the Armel - Leftwich Visitors Center. Our tour guide took us through the Lejeune PE Center where we saw the Athletic Hall of Fame, Olympic size pook & wrestling arena. Many statues and monuments were explained with there significance. We missed the Chapel & Commodore Uriah P. Levy Center & Jewish Chapel. But, we were able to go into the Crypt of John Paul Jones, here the tale 113 yrs. in obscurity in a Parisian cemetery before being exhumed to the Naval Academy. We went into Bancroft Hall visiting the Rotunda & Memorial Hall. We saw a sample midshipmen room that was opened to the public.
Although born a Scot, John Paul Jones is considered to be the first US Navy hero. He entered into naval service at the tender of age of 13, when he undertook an apprenticeship as a sea merchant on the brig Friendship. His apprenticeship was to lead to a long and successful career on the seven seas.
At the outbreak of the American Revolution, he sided with the colonists and received a commission in the Continental Navy, being given command of the sloop USS Providence which he used to destroy British fisheries in Nova Scotia whilst also undertaking the capture of 16 British ships. He is forever remembered in American Naval lore as Captain of the Bon Homme Richard a derelict ship given to him by the French King which he refitted. He went into battle with the Bon Homme Richard against the much larger British ship, Serapis and, when others thought his time up and asked whether he was ready to surrender, he famously replied "I have not yet begun to fight!".
His crypt can be found in the basement of the United States Naval Academy. The coffin itself is interred within a large marble sarcophagus which is modelled after the tomb of Napoleon.
Admission to the United States Naval Academy is with ID check.
No admission charge.
The US Naval Academy is open to the public--that is, to anyone with a government ID. Many areas are closed to the public, but there is a lot to see here.
The Chapel is the most imposing structure, with its towering dome which is visible for miles. Beneath it is a crypt containing the tomb of John Paul Jones. Originally from Scotland, Jones served with distinction in the American navy, then with the French and Russian fleets. He is remembered as the Father of the US Navy.
Preble Hall houses a small but impressive museum full of naval models, uniforms, and memorabilia. It's comparable to the museum at the Washington Navy Yard, and it's free. Don't miss the gallery of ship models in the basement, especially the models built during the Napoleonic Wars by French prisoners. These men made them from scraps of wood and bone, and sold them to collectors.
Stop and take a look at the other memorials around the Academy grounds. There is a lot to see here.
Besides of walking around a very picturesque town, there are not too many things to do in Maryland's capital city. One of the main attractions is the US Naval Academy... a very interesting walk where you'll see a cathedral, nice gardens and beautiful views of the bay.
The Naval Academy Chapel, sits beside the Superintendent's Buchanan House, and construction began in 1905. The basement of the chapel houses the crypt of John Paul Jones. Interestingly, the crypt was created many years before Jones' body was found in France.
This is the Naval Academy's third chapel and the cornerstone was laid by Admiral George Dewey. It was designed to seat 1,500 but was expanded to hold 2,500 in 1940. My favorite decoration inside the chapel is the Admiral Farragut stained glass window...he's famous for saying "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" at Mobile Bay during the Civil War.
This was probably the highlight of our entire trip. The church service was so moving and inspirational. The Midshipmen choir has about a hundred voices and was outstanding. The great Gothic Cathedral is a destination in itself. John Paul Jones, the father of the academy, is buried here.
Services are open to the public but are not advertised so many people do not know about it. Just be prepared to show a photo i.d.
Remember you will be unable to drive on base unless you have proper ID. You can walk on base with regular ID. You should to go there for ice skating, 4th of July, Church services and the Officers Club.
Memorial Hall contains the names of all US Naval Academy graduates who have died in the line of duty. It also has several paintings and dioramas memorializing important events in Navy history. Another section of the hall portrays famous graduates such as Senator John McCain, President Jimmy Carter, and Medal of Honor Winner James Stockdale. Navy heroes from throughout history are memorialized with sculptures throughout the hall.
Memorial Hall also houses the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy on the rare occasion when the Naval Academy stumbles upon it.
Besides the Midshipmen running around between classes in their ice cream man uniforms, there are actually several interesting sites at the US Naval Academy.
Start with the chapel, located just a few minutes walk from Gate 1 (the downtown Annapolis Gate). This chapel has a beautiful interior with unique military-motif stained glass. The basement houses the tomb of John Paul Jones, America's first navy hero.
Memorial hall is another interesting location with displays about famous grads, a huge hall dedicated to graduates who lost their lives, and interesting memorabilia from many naval campaigns throughout American history.
My husband graduated from the USNA. In the days when we were dating a midshipman's date was called a 'drag'. According to Plebe Summer.com, the term was used from 1925 to 1989.
In any case I spend most of my vacations for several years driving back and forth from Towson to Annapolis to date the man who is now my husband. This picture was taken at his graduation. Two days afterwards, we had a military wedding in Towson. He served as a Naval aviator for 20 years. He retired from the Navy in 1979.
My daughter wanted to go to the Naval Academy like her daddy. We told her, "There aren't any girls at the Naval Academy". She said "When I go there will be."
And there were. But she got an appointment to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, so that's where she went.
In the mid 70s we moved to Leonardtown, and my children and I went to the visitor's center and we did the walking tour of the Naval Academy.
The United States Naval Academy trains future Naval Officers. It has the world's largest dormitory housing for over 4,000 midshipmen. Come see the crypt of John Paul Jones and the Severn seawall with its mast from the battleship Maine. There is also an early submarine, a Mark XIV torpedo (memorial for 52 U.S. submarines lost in WWII with 3505 men.)
You may visit the academy any time of the year during regular visiting hours (9 am to 5 pm daily). Guided tours are available through a commercial service in Annapolis or through the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center.
Access to the Academy grounds are limited, and all visitors over the age of 16 must have a valid picture ID.
April - June
September - November
Mon-Fri: 10:00am - 3:00pm
Saturday: 9:30am - 3:00pm
Sunday: 12:30pm - 3:00pm
July - August
Mon-Sat: 9:30am - 3:00pm
Sunday: 12:30pm - 3:00pm
December - March
Mon-Sat: 10:00am - 2:30pm
Sunday: 12:30pm - 2:30pm
Public Tour Fees
$5.50 seniors (62+)
The Naval Academy was founded in 1845 by the Secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft.
The history of the Academy has often reflected the history of the United States itself. As the U.S. Navy has moved from a fleet of sail and steam-powered ships to a high tech fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships as well as supersonic aircraft, the Academy has changed also.
The Naval Academy gives young men and women the up-to-date academic and professional training needed to be effective naval and marine officers in their assignments after graduation.
One of two houses of worship, the United States Naval Academy Chapel is located on the grounds of the Navy's service academy in Annapolis. The cornerstone was laid in 1904 by Admiral George Dewey with the dedication of the Chapel on 28th May 1908. The chapel dome is copper and the cupula is 200 feet above the main alter area.
In 1940 the Chapel underwent remodeling and doubled the seating capacity to approximately 2,500.
The Naval Academy Chapel is open for visitors Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 16:00 and Sunday 13:00 to 16:00, except when the Chapel is being used for weddings, funerals and memorial services, and other special events. Closed on Federal holidays.
No admission charge.
Admission to the United States Naval Academy requires ID and has a 100% ID check to enter the grounds. However, if you are a tourist travelling with Americans, you might be lucky and get let in even if you don't have your passport or other means of formal identification with you - just smile nicely and make your excuses.
This picture was taken from a commercial (AA) airplane as we were flying from Dallas to BWI. The Naval Academy is spread out below. The body of water at the top of the picture is the Severn River. This is easy to ID because one of the Greenbury Point towers is in the upper right corner. The new MD 450 bridge across the Severn is middle left. College Creek runs down toward the bottom of the picture with three bridges across it.
The top bridge is inside the Academy grounds. The middle bridge which is the MD 436 bridge is at the border of the Academy. St. John's College is on the right of this bridge at the bottom of the picture.
You can see the massive area of Bancroft Hall on the middle right just below the boat basin, and the copper dome of the Chapel projects above the trees just to the left of that. Above that you can see a track.
Although I have not visited USNA in some time, I reccomend walking through Gate 1 (unless you have an ID on your vehicle, you will not be able to take it onto Academy grounds) and going to the Visitor Center and taking the guided walking tour, viewing a sample midshipman room, and the exhibit on the life and times of John Paul Jones.
Visitor Center Hours:
9:00am - 5:00pm (March-December)
9:00am - 4:00pm (January-February)
Public Tour Fees
$6.50 seniors (62+)
$5.50 students (1st-12th grade)
Only vehicles with DoD stickers or a guest pass are allowed on the Yard. All others will need to park outside the Academy and walk in through Gate 1 (with a valid ID.)