Photo credit: Robert J. Hughes , 06/1987

Property Name: Cross Manor
Date Listed: 10/6/1988
Inventory No.: SM-3
Location: 47733, Cross Manor Road, St. Inigoes, Saint Marys County

Description: Cross Manor is a 2 1/2-story brick house with a side-hall double parlor plan and Greek Revival and Federal influenced woodwork. The house was constructed in three main stages. The original house was built prior to 1798 and was three bays wide, two rooms deep and 1 1/2 stories high with a gambrel roof. A pair of brick chimneys flanked a pent closet on the south gable end. The second period of construction probably occurred c. 1828-1840 and consisted of the addition of a frame 1 1/2 story wing to the south gable of the main house. The last period of construction made about the 1840s or 1850s represents a radical reordering of the house and yard. The main house was gutted except for the paneled room and pent closet and the front was switched from water side to land side. The interior plan was changed to the present side passage, double parlor and the shell was enlarged to a full 2 1/2 stories with a pitched gable roof. The east facade contains the principal entrance, in the north bay of the original brick portion. This entrance is covered with a one-story, one-bay pedimented Doric portico. The two windows in the center and south bays hold 12/12 sash windows with splayed jack arches. The three windows above, one over each opening in an asymmetrical fashion, hold 6/6 sash with rowlock arches. Most of the louvered shutters are intact. This slope of the roof holds two gable-roofed dormers with round-arched windows with tracery. The west facade is dominated by a two-story gable-roofed galleried porch, supported by Tuscan columns. The north bay of each floor contains a door, and the other two windows hold 6/6 sash, the first story retaining its louvered shutters. The west slope of the roof holds two dormers matching those on the east. The north gable end is pierced by two 12/12 sash windows on the first floor and two 6/6 windows above, with brick arches matching those on the east facade. A single 6/6 sash window pierces the attic gable. Against the south gable end of the main house stand two massive exterior chimneys, and the frame wing is attached to the east side of this facade. Windows in the one-story frame wing are 6/6 sash, and an exterior chimney stands against its south gable end. Interior decoration includes an exceptional fully paneled room of the Federal period, extensive Greek Revival and Federal trim and mantels, and Greek Revival molded plaster cornice and ceiling medallions. Also on the property are a rare example of a root cellar in the service wing, a c. 1815 or earlier frame carriage house, a mid-19th century brick dairy, the ruins of a second quarter 19th century slave quarter, and 20th century outbuildings.

Significance: The significance of Cross Manor in St. Mary's County is derived from the architectural merit of the complex and from association with Caleb Jones who was instrumental in shaping Cross Manor to its present appearance, and Charles S. Grason, a prominent local businessman and politician. Constructed in three major stages, the house is an exceptional illustration of a major change in the Chesapeake cultural landscape in Maryland in the 19th century. Although not the only known example of the relatively common reorientation away from the water in the 19th century of existing houses, Cross Manor represents the best documented and one of the most extensive examples in Maryland. In a more local context, the original portion of the house is an excellent though altered example of an unusual four-room plan. Cross Manor is also among the few surviving examples, again though altered, of double-pile gambrel-roofed houses in Southern Maryland. This house form was once relatively common. Caleb Jones, a successful and influential physician and planter in St. Mary's County, achieved particular historic significance during the Civil War. Although sentiment in the county was strongly pro-Southern, Jones was an ardent supporter of the Union cause and leased a site at Cross Manor to the U.S. Navy for construction of a coal refueling station. This action by Jones aided in further securing the defense of Washington, D.C. Jones resided at Cross Manor from 1829 until his death in 1878. Grason had a sizable wharfing business which was prominent in the area and reflects an important continued importance of waterways in the economy of this rural region well into the 20th century.




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