Henry Smeltzer Farmstead
3231, Bidle Road, Middletown, Frederick County
The Henry Smeltzer Farmstead features a c. 1832 two-story, six-bay brick bank house, which faces due south, away from the current entrance driveway and from Bidle Road Originally the access was from Bidle Road at a point further to the west of the existing driveway, and which led south of the house. West of the house are the ruins of a frame bank barn, which has collapsed. Behind the barn site, to its north, are two unusual rusticated concrete block silos. Other outbuildings include a concrete block slaughter house and attached frame holding pens, a weighing house, and a well house, among others. Constructed into the hillside, the house has an above-grade cellar wall along the south elevation. The house rests on a fieldstone foundation, and is six bays wide. The two western bays, containing the kitchen and service area, are recessed within a two-story inset porch. The main four-bay façade displays Flemish bond brickwork, while the recessed area of the front along with the side and rear walls, are laid in 5-course common bond. A brick corbelled cornice finishes the front and rear walls, and a brick soldier course of jack arches top the window and door openings. Windows are 6/6 sash, many with louvered shutters. The front door is in the main four-bay section of the south elevation, in the second bay from the west end. Also in the south elevation are several other doors: one opening onto the recessed double porch from the kitchen, two at the upper level, and two doors leading into the cellar. The north façade also has two doors: one opposite the main front door, and one opposite the kitchen front door. Only the main front and rear doors have transoms, each with four lights. The jambs are paneled with small moldings, but the doors have been replaced. However, original or modified six-panel doors remain at the second story and the north kitchen door. There are two surviving chimneys, both with parged surfaces, inside the west end wall for the kitchen and inside the west wall of the main portion of the house. There are fireplaces in the east end wall, but no chimney survives above the roofline. The roof is covered with corrugated sheet metal nailed over older wood shingles. Porches extend across the front and rear elevations. The front porch rests on high, poured concrete piers and has a poured concrete deck. The second-story recessed porch has a wooden deck. The first-story porches have wooden square posts with chamfered corners and metal pipe railing at the front elevation. The second-story porch has horizontal wooden rails. There are no railings on the rear porch. On the interior, original trim and mantels survive in several rooms. The kitchen was paneled with knotty pine in the early 20th century.
The Henry Smeltzer Farmstead is locally historically significant for its embodiment of patterns of local history, reflecting a long tenure of the land as a small farm and, in the more recent past, as a slaughter factory for Main’s Meat Market in nearby Middletown. The farmstead and its surrounding agricultural landscape, dating from the early to mid 19th century, with alterations in the early 20th century and added buildings and structures as late as the mid 20th century, portray the use and occupation of the land over time. Originally attached to a flour mill operation, the land in the 1830s became associated with a general farm, likely focused on grain production for the nearby mill. In the early 20th century the agricultural practice changed to meat production in association with a local meat market. Advances in transportation allowed the large-scale meat-processing facility to be profitable, serving the surrounding region accessible by rail and automobile. The farmstead derives architectural significance as an example of an 1830s farmhouse which survives largely intact, along with its associated agricultural outbuildings. Although the bank barn collapsed and lies in ruins, its site conveys the character of the farm. The two surviving concrete block silos from the early 20th century are rare in the area and provide additional architectural interest. The house retains many regional Germanic architectural traditions and, although there were alterations over time, the woodwork, trim, floor plan, hillside layout, and façade arrangement remain fully intact and are important definers of 1830s farmhouse architecture as evolved by the predominant German-descended population of mid Maryland. The 20 acres of land now associated with the property are part of the original 49 acres that Henry Smeltzer assembled through several transactions in 1832 and 1833. The west, north, and east boundaries are the same as when Smeltzer acquired the several small tracts. Agricultural activity continued on the farm into the mid 20th century with the slaughter facility that supported Main’s Meat Market in Middletown. Thus the historic character of the property and its associations with the past have been maintained to the present time.