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Property Name: Riley/Bolten House
Date Listed: 12/30/2011
Inventory No.: M: 30-6
Location: 11420, Old Georgetown Road (MD 187), Rockville, Montgomery County

Description: The Riley-Bolten House consists of an early-19th century (c. 1800-1815) frame structure with a mid-19th century (1850-51) log wing. The house was likely built by George or Isaac Riley, while the log wing may have been built by Isaac's widow, Matilda Riley. The house and exposed-log wing were renovated between 1936 and 1939, according to drawings by architect Lorenzo S. Winslow. The effort included the construction of a two-story rear addition and side, screened porch. The appearance of the house has not changed significantly since that work was completed. Once the center of a 260+-acre plantation, the house today is set in a one-acre, mid-20th century, suburban landscape. The house, approximately 50 feet from the road, is 1 1/2 stories in height, four bays wide, resting on a stone foundation. The moderately sloping side-gable, newly shingled cedar roof rises between two gable-end brick chimneys. The frame section is sheathed in feathered weatherboards. A box cornice with wooden end brackets runs the length of the walls under the roofline. Decorative water-collection boxes top the downspouts leading from the gutters at either end of the elevation. The front door, framed by fluted pilasters and topped with a four-light transom and dentiled frieze, is roughly centered in the east (front) elevation. The paneled wood front door with an exterior louvered wooden screen door is bracketed by two 6/6 double-hung sash windows to the south and by one 8/8 window to the north. All windows have louvered wooden shutters. A flight of two low steps leads to a flagstone stoop under the door. The cladding, cornice, rain-collection boxes, windows, shutters, door trim, steps, and stoop all date to the 1930s renovation. Dendrochronology dates the construction of the one-room log wing on the north gable end to the mid 19th century. It may have been built as a kitchen and quarters, based on knowledge that it functioned as a kitchen in the early 20th century and used to have a sleeping loft. It is not known whether this log addition was built in place or moved to the main house before c. 1919, when it is documented at its present location. However, it does appear to have been constructed in situ, in that the original mortar and chinking in the south wall is intact, whereas it would most likely have been dislodged and replaced by modern material as the result of any move. Most of the sand and clay chinking mortar between the logs has been replaced by mortar with Portland cement, dating to the 1930s renovation. The hand-hewn logs of the wing extend approximately eight courses high and are joined at the corners by V notches. The likelihood is that several log courses were removed when a new, concrete foundation was poured during the 1930s renovation, probably the result of rotting in the lower courses. As originally built, communication between the frame house and the log structure was from the exterior only. The entry into the log wing was through the extant exterior opening in the east (front) elevation. In addition, there used to be a door in the log wing's west elevation. (That door led to a kitchen garden in the early 20th century.) The interior door which now connects the frame house's dining room to the log wing was put in place during the 1930s renovation. On the east façade, the wing contains a tongue-and-groove panel door in the south bay (adjacent to the frame house), and a roughly centered 9-light side-hinged casement window to its north. A large stone and brick chimney is attached to the north gable end. On the north façade, the log wing covers the west bay of the first floor, the east bay containing a single 6/6 sash window with louvered shutters. The half story contains two windows: One 6/6 in the east bay and one 4/4 in the west bay, above the wing. The north façade of the wing is dominated by the large, centered, shouldered, fieldstone chimney with a brick stack. The chimney is corbelled to match the two chimneys in the frame section. The attic gable of the wing is sheathed in weatherboards that match those of the frame house, and the gable contains two 4/4 casement windows flanking the chimney. The west façade of the house contains a substantial 1930s two-story rear ell that housed a kitchen on the first floor and a master bedroom and bathroom on the second. This wing covers the north half of the main house. Near the center of the west elevation of the log wing is a window containing a pair of side-hinged 6-light casements. Cuts in the logs below the opening indicate the former presence of a door in this location. The south elevation of the main block of the house contains a gabled, one-story porch in the western half. The second story of the south elevation of the main block contains two 6/6 sash windows. On the interior of the main block, a fireplace is centered in the southern wall. It is spanned, mid-ceiling, by a summer beam running in a north-south axis. Notes from the 1936 renovation mention removing whitewash from that beam. The fireplace mantel reveals transitional Federal and Greek components, and probably dates to the 1820 to 1840 period, according to an investigation by Orlando Ridout V of the Maryland Historical Trust. Much of the remaining woodwork dates to the 1930s renovation, apart from a doorframe leading from the library to the living room, which is c. 1850s, when the log wing was built.

Significance: The Riley-Bolten House is architecturally significant as an example of the trend, current in the 1930s, in which existing older houses were renovated in the Colonial Revival style popularized by the development of Colonial Williamsburg. The Riley family constructed the frame dwelling c. 1800-1815 as the main house on their extensive plantation; the one-room log wing was added in 1850. During the 1930s, the 19th-century house and log wing underwent a comprehensive renovation in the Colonial Revival style, designed by prominent Washington, D.C. architect, Lorenzo Winslow. The redesigned Riley-Bolten House is one of several examples in Montgomery County where an older building was renovated in the Colonial Revival style and served as the centerpiece for a new suburban development, in this case, one that promoted affordable "small estate farms." The property has integrity to the 1930s period while retaining elements from its earlier 19th-century history.




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