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Federalsburg West Historic District
Inventory No.: CAR-338
Date Listed: 5/12/2016
Location: Roughly bounded by Railroad Avenue, University Avenue, Bloomingdale Avenue, Denton Road, Idlewild Road, and Marshyhope Creek, Federalsburg, Caroline County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1790-1964
Boundary Description: Beginning at a point along the west side of the Marshyhope Creek at its junction with the north side of the railroad right-of-way for the former Maryland and Delaware Railroad at a point marked A on the accompanying district map, thence heading in a southeasterly direction for a distance of approximately 1,250’ to a point marked B on the north side of the railroad right-of-way, thence in a northerly direction across Railroad Avenue on a line coincidental with Parcel 509 on accompanying map, and then by and with the back lines of Parcels, 502, 501, 500, 499, and 494, to a point marked C at the intersection with the northeast corner of parcel 494 and Academy Avenue, thence in an easterly direction by and with the south side of Academy Avenue for a distance of approximately 200’ to a point marked D at the intersection of Academy Avenue and University Avenue, thence in a northerly direction by and with the west side of University Avenue for a distance of approximately 850’ to a point marked E, which is the northeast corner of Parcel 81, thence in a westerly direction by and with the back lines of Parcels 81, 80, 79, 78, 77, 74, 73 to a point marked F at the northeast corner of Parcel 73 and Vesper Avenue, thence west by and with the south side of Vesper Avenue for approximately 50’ to a point marked G in line with the east line of Parcel 63, thence north by and with the east lines of Parcels 63 and 48 to a point marked H a distance of approximately 300’, thence in an easterly direction along the back lines of Parcels 45, 44, 40 and through Parcels 43 and 42 for a distance of approximately 300’ to a point marked I, thence in a northerly direction by and with the east lines of Parcel 39 and 35 for a distance of approximately 200’ crossing Bloomingdale Avenue to a point marked J, the northeast corner of Parcel 35, thence in a westerly direction along the back lines of Parcels 35, 34, 33, 32, and 31 to a point marked K, a distance of approximately 200’, thence in a northerly direction along the east line of Parcel 29 in a straight course to a point marked L, a distance of approximately 300’, to a point marked L, which is coincidental with the northern boundary of the town of Federalsburg, thence by and with the boundary line as well as the north line of Parcels 17 and 1125 and 1124 to a point marked M, a distance of approximately 500’, thence in a northerly course in a straight line coincidental with the back lines of Parcels 450, 374, 375, 376, 377, 378, 379, 380, 381, 383, 384 and 385 as indicated on accompanying map to a point on the south side of Idlewild Road marked N, a distance of approximately 950’, thence in a westerly course along the south side of Idlewild Road and crossing Denton Road on a line even with the north line of Parcel 358 as indicated on said map for a distance of approximately 150’ to a point marked O, thence in a southerly course along the back lines of Parcels 358, 357, 356, 355, 354, 353, 352, 350, 349, 348, 347, 346 and 344 for a distance of approximately 1200’ to a point marked P on the east side of Marshyhope Creek, thence in a straight line across said creek to a Point marked P-1 on the west side of said watercourse, thence in a southerly direction by and with the west side of the Marshyhope Creek for a distance of approximately 1300’ to a point marked Q, which is coincidental with the north side of East Central Avenue, thence in a westerly direction by and with the north side of East Central Avenue for a distance of approximately 125’ to a point marked R on said map, thence in a southerly direction across said East Central Avenue in line with the west line of Parcel 707 to a point marked S, a distance of approximately 75’, thence in an easterly direction along the back lines of Parcels 707 and 704 to a point on the west side of the Marshyhope Creek marked T, a distance of approximately 125’, thence in a southerly direction by and with the west side of the Marshyhope Creek for a distance of approximately 700’ to the place of beginning marked A, the said boundary encompassing approximately 275 acres more or less.
Description: The town of Federalsburg is located on the Marshyhope Creek, a tributary of the Nanticoke River in southern Caroline County, Maryland. The Federalsburg West Historic District comprises the part of the town on the west side of Marshyhope Creek, including both the floodplain and higher ground on which the town expanded during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The corridor of the Maryland-Delaware Railroad, located parallel to Railroad Avenue, forms the southern boundary of the historic area. The buildings that define the Federalsburg West Historic District range in date from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century, the largest concentration of resources date between 1880 and 1950 when the town experienced explosive growth as a center of commerce and industry in the southern end of Caroline County servicing northeastern Dorchester County and Sussex County, Delaware. Due to several downtown fires and floods, the early housing stock of the district is reduced to three dwellings dating from the first quarter of the 19th century. The property known as Exeter, CAR-70, listed separately on the National Register, stands on the northeast side of the district and it dates to the first quarter of the 19th century. The house known as Sandy Hill located at 324 South Main Street, is another prominent structure that retains original vernacular building finishes, including beaded weatherboards and an exposed brick firewall on its north gable end. A smaller story-and-a-half house standing at 311 North Main Street, is typical of the small one- or two-room plan dwellings that defined Federalsburg in its first generation of development. The district also retains a few structures dating from the third quarter of the 19th century, and prominent among them is the Christ United Methodist Church on South Main Street, erected in 1871-72 by the Federalsburg Presbyterians. It was later acquired and enlarged by the town’s Methodist Protestant congregation. The Greek Revival-influenced frame church has a bold pediment and classically inspired front entrance distinctive for its semi-circular designed transom lights. The majority of the district, however, is defined by houses, outbuildings, commercial buildings, and churches dating from the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. Following prevailing national trends in the late Victorian Gothic, Second Empire, and Italianate, Neoclassical, bungalow, foursquare, Colonial Revival, and early Ranch-style house designs. The collection also includes dwellings built in response to popular literature during the pre- and post-World War III period. Greatly facilitating the construction of the late 19th and 20th century buildings was the industrialization of the construction industry, which produced a variety of building projects that were shipped to Federalsburg by railroad or steamboat. There is a particularly high percentage of buildings that incorporate early and later rock-faced and other patterned, mass-produced concrete blocks in foundation and wall construction. Significance: The Federalsburg West Historic District is locally architecturally significant for its collection of resources that reflect a wide range of vernacular forms and finishes common to the region during the period from 1820 through 1964 with a particular concentration of houses, outbuildings, churches, and commercial buildings erected during the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. The range of buildings that define the district reflect well the transition from hand-crafted construction materials to the fully industrialized building practices that characterized the late 19th century and the decades before and after World War II. The Federalsburg West Historic District contains the largest and most diverse collection of early to mid-20th century house types in Caroline County. The period of significance, 1790-1964, spans the period between the founding of the town and a date 50 year prior to the nomination documentation. The earliest phase of the town’s history is represented by the location of the Northwest Fork (now Central Avenue) Bridge. Extant resources within the district exemplify the period ca. 1820 to the early 1960s.
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