Michael H. Day
209, West Federal Street, Snow Hill, Worcester County
Chanceford is a two-story, temple-front stuccoed brick house erected during the early 1790s. The transverse hall plan/double-pile main block is supported on a raised brick foundation, and the steeply pitched gable-front roof is trimmed with a bold modillion cornice that encircles the house. Lighted by 12/12 sash windows on the first floor and 12/8 sash on the second floor, the main block is extended to the rear by a two-story hyphen that joins a slightly taller two-story, three-bay kitchen wing. The interior survives with much of its late-18th century Federal woodwork, which was executed in a bold fashion with many molding profiles characteristic of Georgian design. The three-part house follows a stepped profile that is common in the region. The northwest (main) elevation is a symmetrical five-bay facade with a central entrance and flanking windows. The original double-leaf raised-panel doors are covered by an outside six-panel door. A delicately crafted transom with a center four-point star incorporated into the muntin outline tops of the door. The entire doorway is framed by a mid-20th century pedimented classical surround. The flanking windows have louvered shutters. The main block, as well as most of the house, is covered with a coat of stucco that is scored to imitate ashlar construction. The stucco has flaked off in some areas exposing the Flemish bond brickwork. Defining the wall space between the first and second floors is a beltcourse hidden under the stucco. The second floor is lighted by five symmetrically placed windows that have louvered shutters as well. The pediment front is enriched with a modillion block cornice that is further enhanced by a dentiled molding. Piercing the tympanum to light the attic are three 6/6 sash windows. Fixed in the uppermost corner of the tympanum is a round bullseye window highlighted with a muntin design in the shape of a six-pointed star.
Chanceford is architecturally significant. In Worcester County, it is the earliest example of a neoclassical temple-front dwelling, a design that was favored by the merchants and planters of the lower Easter Shore. Examples date as early as c. 1750 and as late as the 1850s. Built in 1792-93, the temple-front, transverse hall plan brick house, covered with a coat of stucco, displays also the regionally distinctive stepped service wing which extends to the rear. A two-story hyphen, originally a single-story structure, joins a two-story kitchen wing. The three-part house, built in a single period, represents the late -18th century and early-19th century domestic movement in the Chesapeake region to reincorporate the principal kitchen service within the main house.