Paul Baker Touart
William S. Smith House
Oriole Road (MD 627), Oriole, Somerset County
The William S. Smith house, also known as the Joseph Croswell House or the Phoebus House, is a two-story cross-shaped frame Queen Anne house, built about 1890, dominated by a pair of three-story entrance towers. The frame dwelling is clad with a mixture of plain weatherboards, fishscale shingles, and later asbestos siding. The steeply pitched asphalt shingle roof has extended eaves with exposed and decorated rafter feet. The pyramidal tower roofs are marked by kicked eaves, wooden finials, and weathervanes. Rising through the center of the house are two narrow brick chimneys, one of which retains a decorative corbeled cap. Sheltering the two entrances are turned-post porches accented with delicate spindled brackets and a spindled frieze. Windows of 2/2 sash, originally flanked by louvered shutters, light the first and second floors. The first floor plan involves two center rooms flanked by separate staircases on each side with a single room on the opposite side of each stair. Most of the original Victorian woodwork remains intact. The only outbuilding is a modern garage.
The William S. Smith House is significant for its architectural character. Built about 1890, the house is a modest example of a Queen Anne influenced building. The exterior displays a pair of square towers with pyramidal roofs, multiple roof lines, and the ubiquitous gable shingling. In Somerset County, however, the William S. Smith House is the most elaborate example of this style of architecture outside of Princess Anne, the county seat, and Crisfield, the largest town. Houses built in the Queen Anne style can be found in these towns but in the rural regions, Queen Anne influences are limited generally to c. 1900 renovations of earlier houses.