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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Upper Marlboro Residential Historic District
Inventory No.: PG:79-115
Date Listed: 12/12/2012
Location: Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1721-1961
Description: The Town of Upper Marlboro Residential Area includes approximately 83.5 acres on the western side of Upper Marlboro in central Prince George's County. The survey area includes residential property types from the mid-18th century, the 19th century, and the 20th century representing an array of notable property types. These include the 18th-century dwellings of Kingston (c. 1730) and Content (c. 1787), the Queen Anne-style John H. Traband House (1895), and multiple properties along Rectory Lane dating to the early to mid 20th century that represent the Tudor, American Foursquare, Bungalow, Cape Cod, Minimal Traditional, and Ranch styles. In addition, the survey area contains properties exhibiting elements of the I-house, side-gable, and gable-front vernacular plans. The majority of dwellings are frame, with the exterior walls clad in replacement siding, such as vinyl, aluminum, or asbestos shingles. A few properties retain their original clapboard siding. Several brick and stone dwellings that date from the early to mid 20th century are located within the residential area as well. Most properties consist of individual town lots, with the dwellings set back from the roads on grass-covered lawns dotted with deciduous and evergreen trees, accessed by paved-asphalt or gravel driveways. The lots range in size from 0.13 to three acres. A group of 35 contributing dwellings and one contributing cemetery dating from 1929 to 1961 fronts Rectory Lane, which runs east-west from Old Marlboro Pike to a cul-de-sac at the western edge of the residential area. This grouping is associated with the planned subdivision of Marlboro Heights, the only subdivision within the residential area. Eleven contributing properties, dating from c. 1730 through 1950, are located along Old Crain Highway. This includes one sandstone monument erected in 1922 to mark the beginning of construction of the Robert Crain Highway, located in an oval-shaped grass island between the two lanes of the Old Crain Highway. Eleven contributing properties, dating from 1796 to 1945, including three cemeteries, are located along Old Marlboro Pike, and seven contributing properties dating from c. 1787 to 1948 are located along Church Street. Elm Street and Main Street each include five contributing properties dating from 1843 to 1941, while Old Mill Road includes two contributing properties constructed c. 1930 and c. 1945. One contributing property that dates to 1865 is located along Valley Lane at the southern end of the residential area. The survey area also includes two church properties. The Trinity Episcopal Church was erected in 1846 on the site of an earlier 18th century frame meetinghouse constructed by the Presbyterian congregation. An associated cemetery dating to pre-Revolutionary War is located adjacent to the church building, and a larger associated cemetery occupies approximately three acres on the north side of Rectory Lane. In addition, a cemetery located on Valley Lane marks the site of a post-Civil War church and school erected by the African-American community in Upper Marlboro. The congregation still maintains the cemetery; however, the frame church was torn down in the early 20th century after the construction of the 1916 Union United Methodist Church, which remains in use to the present day. Three additional cemeteries are located within the survey area. The Forrest/Craufurd family cemetery is located on the Kingston tract, while the Tyler Family cemetery is located immediately to the north, and the Marlboro Methodist Church Episcopal Cemetery is located on Old Marlboro Pike. The survey area also includes one historical monument erected in 1922, at the intersection of Old Crain Highway and Main Streets to mark the beginning of construction of the Robert Crain Highway. Significance: Upper Marlboro, established in 1706 and designated the county seat in 1721, retains a collection of distinctive residential property types constructed between the early 18th century and the mid 20th century. Commercial development largely occurred around the government buildings located in the center of town, and the majority of residential development occurred outside the town center, to the west and north. The residential development that occurred outside the town center, to the west and north. The residential development that occurred in Upper Marlboro directly resulted from the town's designation as a county seat in the 18th century and its continuance in that role to the present day. Furthermore, Upper Marlboro's importance as a political, economic, social, and cultural center during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries influenced the construction of residential dwellings by citizens who desired to be within close proximity of the bustling town. The history of the Town of Upper Marlboro Residential Area is directly related to the history of Upper Marlboro as the center of the political, commercial, and social life for Prince George's County. The district is historically significant for its association with community planning and development, as a notable collection of residential buildings that reflects development over time, from the 18th through the 20th centuries. As the center of government and politics in Prince George's County since 1721, Upper Marlboro includes a distinctly separate residential community that developed on the outskirts of the town center in direct response to the growth of the political and commercial importance of the town. The residential buildings reflect the continual growth and stability of the community from its designation as the county seat in 1721 through to the mid 20th century. The survey area is also historically significant as an African-American cultural resource because the residential area includes the site of a significant African-American population in the post-Civil War era and demonstrates their transition from slavery to freedom as reflected in the relocated tenant houses moved from antebellum plantations to the area north of Western Branch as well as the construction of a church and associated cemetery. The survey area is architecturally significant for its notable collection of buildings, sites, and objects that reflects distinct types, styles, forms, and periods of construction from the 18th to the mid-20th century. Kingston and Content were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 for their exemplification of 18th century residential forms that contain Gothic Revival detailing (Kingston) and early 19th century motifs (Content). The John H. Traband House was listed on the NR in 1984 as a notable example of the Queen Anne style. Other styles and forms present within the Upper Marlboro Residential Survey Area include 19th-century Greek Revival, Colonial Revival, Folk Victorian, and I-house types, as well as early- to mid-20th-century Tudor, Cape Cod, American Foursquare, Bungalow, Minimal Traditional, side-gable, and gable-front types. Collectively, these buildings within the survey area are significant as a unique collection of 18th, 19th, and 20th century architectural styles, types, and forms.
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