Peter E. Kurtze
Brick House on the Pike
9564, National Pike (US 40), Ellicott City, Howard County
The building traditionally known as the Brick House on the Pike is a large two-story, side-passage, double-pile plan house constructed c. 1817. A service wing extending from the east gable incorporates an earlier (possibly mid-18th century) structure; the wing was raised to 1 1/2 stories in the early 20th century. The south facade of the main block is three bays wide, with the principal entrance located in the easternmost bay. The entrance consists of a six-panel door in a paneled jamb, surmounted by a fanlight with metal tracery. Most windows on the main block are 12/12 sash on the first floor and 12/8 on the second, topped with jack arches, the jack arches on the first floor being multi-coursed, while those on the second floor are one brick high. An elaborate gougework bed mold enriches the boxed cornice. The ground floor of the south facade is spanned by a broad shed-roofed porch supported by Colonial Revival-style Tuscan columns. The porch has a boxed cornice with bed and crown molds. The west gable end of the main block is pierced only by two small square 2/2 windows lighting the attic. A tall, parapet-style flush end chimney on the west gable end is corbeled out from the wall plane approximately one inch. The east gable end of the main block, above the roofline of the wing, has a single window opening holding a 9-light casement located to the south of center. Both gables are finished with beaded, tapered rakeboards. Windows in the wing are mostly 6/6 sash, apart from the south facade which holds early-20th century double French doors with a 4-light transom in the west bay, and 12/12 sash windows in the other bays. Also, the single window beside the entrance in the east gable end of the wing has 9/9 lights. The south facade of the wing is covered by a one-bay shed-roofed porch. The south roof slope is pierced by three 6/6 sash gable-roofed dormer windows. A flush chimney rises from the east gable end of the wing. The interior of the main block remains essentially unaltered, with the majority of its original Federal style decorative detailing intact, including an arch in the stair passage with reeded columns and punch-and-gougework detailing, a highly ornamental open-well stair, molded plaster cornices, mantels, six-panel doors, door and window architrave trim, and baseboards. Also on the property and contemporary with the main house are a stone stable/carriage house and a stone foundation, probably that of an ice house; in addition, there are three board-and-batten outbuildings dating from the late 19th or early 20th century.
The Brick House on the Pike is significant for its architecture, as a well-preserved example of a side-passage, double-pile house of the Federal period, exhibiting outstanding craftsmanship in its construction and decorative detailing. Perhaps a half-dozen examples of this type survive in Howard County; Brick House is distinguished among them by the exceptionally high quality of its interior finish. A clear hierarchy of the use of space is apparent in the decorative detailing, which becomes progressively less elaborate as the spaces become less public: the entrance hall and front parlor are most richly detailed, and the degree of elaboration diminishes through the first-floor rear room, the second-floor stair passage, chambers, and attic. The architectural significance of this resource is enhanced by its high degree of integrity; the early features of the house were left essentially untouched in the c. 1907 alterations, and have remained intact and unrestored to the present day.