Skip to Main Content

Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Peter E. Kurtze, 05/1984
Mount Airy Historic District
Inventory No.: CARR-964, F-5-61
Date Listed: 9/13/1984
Location: Mount Airy, Carroll County, Frederick County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1838-1930
Description: The Mount Airy Historic District comprises a cohesive group of commercial, residential, and ecclesiastical buildings dating from the late 19th through early 20th centuries located within the corporate limits of Mount Airy, a small town on the border of Carroll and Frederick Counties in rural west-central Maryland. The brick B & O Railroad station on Main Street represents the town's origin as an early transportation center for the region; the present building was constructed in 1882, but a B & O depot had been established on the site as early as 1838. A group of commercial buildings extends along both sides of Main Street for approximately one block north of the station and two blocks to its south; primarily two-story, shed-roofed, frame or brick storefronts, these buildings are the result of early-20th century rebuildings of Mount Airy's downtown, parts of which were destroyed in a series of fires between 1903 and 1926. The residential areas of the district, lying to the north, south, southwest, and southeast of the commercial core, are characterized by houses illustrating vernacular forms and popular stylistic influences of the late 19th and early 20th century. The majority are frame, two-story, three-bay center-gable I-houses of a traditional form widespread in rural central Maryland from the mid 19th century until well into the 20th. In many of these houses, a stylish corner turret or other architectural element is grafted onto the basic traditional form. Several examples of the popular early-20th century Foursquare and Bungalow forms occur as well. Main Street features a number of larger, relatively high-style houses of the period, expressing Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival trends. The houses are mostly set well back from the street on shaded lawns. Three churches are located within the residential area: the fieldstone, vernacular Greek Revival Pine Grove Chapel (1846); brick, Gothic-influenced St. James Episcopal Church; and Norman stone Calvary Methodist Church (1916). The district retains a high level of integrity, with few intrusions; alterations are generally reversible, and generally limited to artificial siding and minor storefront renovations. Significance: The Mount Airy Historic District is significant for its architecture, and for its association with the development of transportation in west-central Maryland. Architecturally, the district comprises a cohesive collection of commercial, residential, and ecclesiastical buildings dating from 1846 through the early 1930s; these buildings and their setting retain a high level of integrity, and the district clearly conveys the character and feeling of a rural Maryland town in the early 20th century. The houses within the district reflect a variety of stylistic influences: they consist primarily of frame "I-houses" reflecting a vernacular form widely used in rural Maryland from the mid 19th century through at least the first three decades of the 20th. In addition, several examples represent the popular Foursquare and Bungalow trends of the early 20th century, and a number of larger houses, chiefly along Main Street, reflect the Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival designs apparently derived from pattern books. The residential areas within the district are characterized by neatly tended, tree-shaded lawns; notably few intrusions or insensitive alterations break the continuous streetscapes. Many of the houses within the district feature a corner turret, in addition to the visual interest of the streetscapes and the unique character of the district. Modern alterations, where they occur, are generally reversible and by no means so extensive as to detract from the district's capacity to convey a sense of time and place. A small commercial area, characterized by two-story, shed roofed, chiefly early-20th century storefronts, provides an anchor for the residential areas lying to its north and south, and represents both a past and present focus for the district. The district derives additional significance from its association with the development of transportation in the region; an early and important center of both rail and highway transportation, the district owes much of its current appearance to improvements in these modes of transit which occurred around the turn of the 20th century.

District Resources

Resources not specifically itemized in a list within NR nomination form.

 

Return to the National Register Search page