Photo credit: AMH , 11/1974

Property Name: Parkhurst
Date Listed: 4/13/2001
Inventory No.: AA-224
Location: 1059, Cumberstone Rd., Cumberstone, Anne Arundel County

Description: Parkhurst is a large two-story frame house with a complex floor plan, reflecting the evolution of the dwelling. The original Gothic Revival vernacular, center-passage, double-pile plan house was constructed in c. 1848-1850. Alterations and additions were made in the early 20th century, giving the house a Neoclassical appearance. Facing northwest, the 7-bay front of the house is dominated by a 3-bay-wide Neoclassical pedimented portico, supported by four Ionic columns. The motif is repeated in smaller porches on both sides of the house. The central door, flanked by pilasters, has a rectangular transom. Above this entrance, a 6/6 sash window flanked by 2/2 sash windows gives the appearance of a doorway opening onto a small balcony. The windows are predominantly 6/6 sash. However, as in this central bay, some of the windows have a 2/2 sash window on either side of the 6/6 windows. The rear of the house faces southeast towards the West River. Centered on this elevation is a two-story, semi-hexagonal wing that was part of the original house. The exterior walls of the house are covered with weatherboard siding. The cross-gable roof is covered with standing-seam metal and is pierced at the eave level by two gable-roofed 6/6 sash dormer windows on the front facade, flanking the portico. The house features three sets of paired, chamfered brick interior chimneys, typical of the Gothic Revival style. An additional gable-end chimney serves the cooking fireplace in the kitchen wing. Sometime prior to 1917, the original detached, frame kitchen was joined to the main block. In 1927, Parkhust underwent significant expansion and architectural changes, resulting in the present appearance of the house. However, the basic center-passage double-pile plan house remains. The interior finish is relatively plain. Wood crown moldings are installed in each of the four first-floor rooms of the original portion of the house. These rooms have wood panels below the windows, and window and door architraves. Two elaborate fireplaces are slate, while the remainder are simple and wooden. Two 5-panel sliding doors separate the living room and front hall. Also on the property are a timber framed mid-19th century smokehouse and an early-20th century frame tobacco barn.

Significance: Parkhurst was constructed in the years between 1848 and 1850 by Richard S. Mercer and is an example of the vernacular farmhouse built in the mid 19th century in Anne Arundel County. The cruciform house plan, the Gothic Revival features, and the joined timber construction of the original house reflect the period of its construction, however, the semi-hexagonal section at the rear of the house was somewhat unusual. The replacement in 1927 of the single-story porch by extension of the center gable to form a portico supported by four 27-inch columns and the two small porches at the front (northwest) corners of the house in the neoclassical style also represent the popular style of that period. The combination of the Neoclassical front with the Gothic Revival features, such as the pointed-arched dormer windows, the multi-gabled roof, and three pairs of chamfered chimneys, gives the house an imposing appearance in its agricultural setting. The three completely different and important architectural styles located in the small Cumberstone area represent a vertical cut through the history of tobacco plantations. Parkhurst is significant as a vernacular mid-19th century farmhouse conveyed by the physical features of the house's style, form, design, workmanship, and materials that are readily apparent in both its interior and exterior.




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