Susan G. Pearl
William W. Early House
13907, Cherry Tree Crossing Road, Brandywine, Prince Georges County
The William W. Early House is a high-style frame Victorian dwelling with Queen Anne decorative elements. Constructed in 1907, the house is roughly square, with hip-roofed 2 1/2-story main block, and asymmetrical gable-roofed extensions, projecting bays, and corner tower, all decorated with fine jigsawn and shingle detail. The main facade is to the south, highlighted by an entrance with three-light transom and single-light sidelights, and a two-story octagonal tower set into the southeastern corner of the house. Across the south facade is a one-story veranda, with turned posts, jigsawn brackets, a railing of turned balusters, and a spindled frieze. On the east and west facades at loft level are highly decorated pedimented gables; they are sided with alternating courses of fishscale and scalloped shingles, and have bargeboards with jigsawn tracery. Four-pane windows in the tympanum have gently rounded tops and gabled surrounds. Extending west from the main block is a cross-gable wing; a lower two-story kitchen wing extends to the north. The entire building is sheathed with German siding painted white. Windows are variously 1/1, 6/6, 8/8, and 2/2, most with louvered shutters Cornices are boxed with crown molding, and the building rests on a high brick foundation. There are four tall interior corbeled brick chimneys. The roof is of patterned tin shingle and its peaks are embellished with ornamental acroteria. The interior plan consists of a stairhall with double parlor on the right (east), office on the left, and kitchen to the rear. The main entrance opens into a wide stairhall, warmed by a fireplace with a marbleized slate mantel on the west wall. The handsome staircase rises and turns at the rear of the hallway, having a square paneled newel post and turned balusters. The wall side of the staircase has paneled wainscoting, and the spandrel is identically paneled. Surrounds of doors and windows are Classical Revival in style, with crown molding over squared molded bands. The office to the west has a slate mantel on its interior (east) wall. This office once had a separate entrance from the west end of the main veranda, now closed off. To the east of the stairhall were originally two parlors, which have been made one by the removal of an interior partition. The original marbleized slate mantel at the north end of this room was removed in the late 1970s, an replaced by a mantel madeof marble salvaged from a Victorian theater in Colorado. An original well house remains on the property. Facing south, this gable-roofed building has a 3/3 sash window in its east facade, and horizontal board siding.
The William W. Early House is significant for its architectural character. Built in the Queen Anne style, the frame structure embodies the distinctive characteristics of a style that is commonly found in the urban and suburban regions of the state but rarely in the rural regions. In the context of Prince George's County, the William W. Early House is one of the most elaborate examples and of particular importance because it remains essentially intact with a high level of integrity of the interior and exterior decorative detailing. Significant original features of the house include a polygonal tower, shingled gables, a wraparound porch with turned balusters and posts, decorated sheet-metal roof, and classically influenced interior woodwork. The house is also closely connected with the development of the railroad in Prince George's County, and served as the home office of the railroad manager. In addition, it is connected with the planning and development of the village of Brandywine, having been built for a member of the family of William H. Early, an important landowner and developer of this railroad village.