Photo credit: Christopher Weeks , 09/1991

Property Name: Broom's Bloom
Date Listed: 12/19/1991
Inventory No.: HA-1075
Location: 1616, Fountain Green Road (MD 543), Bel Air, Harford County

Description: Broom's Bloom is a two-story, frame and rubble stone, gable-roofed house, partially stuccoed and partially shingled, whose four distinct and discernable periods of growth, from c. 1747 to c. 1950, have resulted in an uneven fenestration pattern and an L-plan. The oldest section is the largest and dominant; dating from the 1740s, it is four bays by two, has a hall and parlor plan, and measures approximately 36 x 20 feet beneath a gable roof with the long façades facing north and south. Each room has exterior doors on both north and south façades, a gable-end, brick-lined stone fireplace with simple wooden mantel, and original simple chairrails. The larger west room (hall) has an enclosed winder stair south of the chimney and the entire fireplace wall has original fielded paneling similar in form an execution to that in another Harford County house firmly dated to the 1740s. There is a two-story, c. 1845 frame wing to the west which continues one room per floor and whose gable roof continues the roofline and slopes of the older section, but is slightly lower. That room's simple interior trim was destroyed in a 1990 fire. A one-story, shed-roofed porch was added to the south façade when the new room was built. Its classically influenced chamfered posts are thought to be original. To the north of the 1740s parlor is a c. 1850, two-story, stuccoed rubblestone, simply finished kitchen wing. There is an enclosed chimney in the north end of the kitchen, and the large fireplace has no mantel but has what is thought to be original hardware. The kitchen fills the northern two thirds of this wing and the balance is given over to a stairhall with an open double-flight stair. Twentieth-century owners added a small, frame entrance/laundry room and a bathroom adjacent and west of the kitchen wing. Adjacent to the stream is a one-story, rubblestone 18th century springhouse. There is a small family cemetery, with graves dating to the mid 18th century, at the northeast corner of the property. Five modern farm buildings are west of the house, and do not contribute to the significance of the property.

Significance: Broom's Bloom, begun c. 1747 by the locally prominent Webster family and continuously owned by direct descendents of the original builder and land patentee, is significant for its architecture. Added onto by succeeding generations of the Webster-Dallam family, the original portion of Broom's Bloom is still the largest and dominant section of the house and is a superior and exceptionally intact example of a vernacular building form popular in Harford County among the area's prosperous second- and third-generation planters and industrialists. A figurative handful--four--of such structures survive in the county; similar in scale, plan, and detail, these structures all date to the same decade (the 1740s) and comprise the oldest documented group of buildings in the county. There have been three principal additions to the house. Two of these (executed c. 1845 and c. 1850) possess their own historic importance, and the third (c. 1950) is small in scale, utilitarian in nature, and does not compromise the houses' integrity. The 19th century additions are reflective of the conservative nature of Harford County architecture. Existing houses were added to rather than extensively remodeled resulting in clear pictures of the growth history of the building. The cemetery contains the earliest known grave stones in the county.0




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