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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Cherilyn E. Widell, 05/1982
John C. Motter House
Inventory No.: F-3-59
Date Listed: 12/2/1982
Location: 1005 Motter Avenue , Frederick, Frederick County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1880
Description: The John C. Motter House is a c. 1880, asymmetrical brick residence which stands on top of a slight rise overlooking a suburban development in the north end of Frederick, Maryland. The house is constructed in the Queen Anne style and is characterized on the exterior by a multi-gable roof, vertical and horizontal timbering in the gable, decorative porches, projecting gables and bays, beveled facade corners, and ornate corbeled chimneys. The house comprises three integrated sections resting on a low limestone foundation with scored cement watertable. The roof of the house is dominated by colored patterned slate work on the front of the building and tall ornate chimneys with buttressed sides and corners flared at the top by a deep row of corbeling. The most prominent section of the house is the south front section, which is 3 1/2 stories in height and two bays wide on the west facade, and one bay in depth, with a 1/2 bay rear extension. A two-story bay window with paneled aprons, 1/1 windows, scrolled brackets, dentiled frieze, and a row of circular motifs just below the apron, three bays wide, occupies the south bay at the second and third story levels. A one-story, hip-roofed porch with four turned columns and a spindled frieze extends across the entire front of the south front section. The principal entrance, located in the south bay, beneath the bay window, consists of twin 7-panel doors, with a two-light transom, enclosed by fluted pilasters headed by molded brackets and an overhanging cornice decorated with sawtooth and garland decoration. The north bay holds a floor-to-ceiling 2/1 window. All four corners of this section of the building are angled until just below the roofline where the brick is corbeled out to meet the plain boxed cornice. The roof holds a round-arched 2/2 sash window in the cross gable, which is decorated with dentil and jigsaw molding. Most other windows in the house are 2/1 sash windows. The north portion of the building is a gable-front, one-bay wide, 2 1/2 story building. The first floor is covered by a polygonal bay window. The second floor holds a pair of 2/1 sash windows, and the attic gable, decorated with horizontal and vertical half-timbers, holds a single 2/1 window. Two 2/1 sash floor-to-ceiling windows in the center of the north side of this portion of the building are covered by a hip-roofed porch with turned posts and a spindled frieze. Two 2/1 windows appear on the second floor. The rear section of the building is three bays deep and two wide, and two stories high. The rear section is covered by a hipped slate roof with boxed cornice enclosing the cutters and decorated by a dentiled frieze. The south side of the rear section is decorated by a three-bay-wide two-story open wooden porch with turned posts and a spindled frieze on the first floor and turned balustraded railing on the second floor. All windows on the rear section have jack arches. Interior features include an asymmetrical floor plan with hexagonal room, original interior woodwork, marbelized slate mantels, and decorative plaster ceiling medallions. The house is an unusually ornate version of the Queen Anne style of architecture for rural Frederick County. Documentary records indicate that a building existed on this site in the 1840s and suggest that this was incorporated in the existing 1880s building; however, there is no visible evidence remaining of the earlier 1840s residence on the interior or exterior of the building. Significance: The significance of the John C. Motter House is derived from two sources. First, the house is an unusual example, for the rural sections of Maryland, of a Queen Anne influenced residence of the late 19th century. Although the Queen Anne style was popular in the late 19th century throughout the United States, the popularity in western Maryland was limited primarily to urban settings. Of the rural examples of Queen Anne houses that do exist in this region, the John C. Motter House is unique because of the verticality of the structure and the beveled facade corners of the main block. The Queen Anne features which characterize the house are the asymmetrical arrangement of parts, half-timbering in the gable ends, projecting bays, and decorated brick chimneys. Combined with these features are characteristic of an earlier house form popular in the area, a cross-gable rectangular structure. This combination may be the result of undocumented remodelings. The second source of significance is through association with John C. Motter (1844-1916) who lived in the house from the 1880s until 1914. Motter, a lawyer, was judge of the Maryland Sixth Judicial Circuit Court and served as president of the Emmittsburg Railroad Company, and on the boards of the Washington, Frederick and Gettysburg Railway Company and the Citizens National Bank while in residence at this house.
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