MHT File Photo
Chapel Point Road , Port Tobacco, Charles County
Stagg Hall, a one-story frame house built on an east-west axis, stands adjacent to Port Tobacco's former town square. A five-bay, gambrel-roofed structure with three 6/6 sash pedimented dormers, Stagg Hall has double-tiered exterior end chimneys and shiplapped siding. Built over a full cellar with walls of brick and stone construction, the house is of a one room deep plan consisting of an off-centered stair hall flanked by two rooms at both floor levels. All of the first floor rooms are embellished with paneled wainscoting and bold ceiling cornices. Other features include the 9/9 sash of the windows and paneled doors. The principal room features a fully paneled chimney wall with fluted pilasters flanking a fireplace with a molded surround and above the fireplace, a large panel formed by crosseted moldings applied over an even larger raised panel. The stair has a well executed balustrade of turned and fluted balusters, carved and fluted newels, and a molded rail. Extending from the east end of the house is a two-part frame wing rebuilt in the early 1750s. It is composed of a four-bay frame structure with a T-shaped central chimney, and is attached to the main block by a small hyphen.
Built c. 1740 for John Parnham, a prosperous Port Tobacco merchant, Stagg Hall is one of a remarkably small and steadily diminishing number of Charles County buildings dating from the first half of the 18th century. More importantly, its historic architectural integrity is unmatched by any other pre-Revolutionary structure recorded in this section of lower Southern Maryland. Of additional significance is the fact that its center hall two-room plan and gambrel roof predate by as much as a quarter-century or more other representations of their form in this locality. Equally notable aspects of its architecture include the preservation of an impressive amount of its original interior woodwork. Of the latter, its finely crafted stair, the paneling and cupboard of its principal first floor room, and the treatment of the upper chambers are of particular interest. Overall, it is an exceptional building of inestimable value to the study and interpretation of domestic architectural development in this region during the colonial period.