MHT File Photo
Bushwood Road, Bushwood, Saint Marys County
Although the original house at Ocean Hall is believed to have been built c. 1670, successive alterations were made to the initial structure in the early 18th, late 19th and early 20th centuries. The extent of these alterations have made a definitive interpretation of the building difficult at the present time. Of the original house only the brick, Flemish bond exterior walls remain. It is almost impossible to identify precisely the locations and dimensions of the original window openings. The only opening that appears undisturbed is the centered doorway of the north facade elevation. A similar doorway exists in more or less the same position on the south, or river, facade. However, this door has been repositioned slightly to the right of the original opening, an alteration that may have been made c. 1725, at the time of the extensive interior alterations. The windows of the north and south elevations, enlarged and apparently repositioned about 1725, are larger than average for window openings of this period; the present 12/12 sashes are a 19th century replacement of the originals. The extent of the alterations to the two principal facades, in addition to a thin stucco and several layers of paint, makes the use of such evidence to interpret change extremely difficult. The two windows of the west end elevation, also of 12/12 sash are neither original nor from the c. 1725 alterations; the front and rear facades, as well as the west end, are covered by a deep wraparound porch, added about 1900. The elongated decorative drops of the west end barge boards date from this addition. The gable roof terminates with single flush chimneys at each end. Both chimneys retain plaster necking bands, a decorative feature seen in Tidewater Maryland architecture throughout the late 17th and 18th centuries. The three gable-roofed dormers on both the front and rear slopes of the roof are all late-19th century additions; there is no evidence of any earlier dormer windows. About 1910, a one-story, two-part frame wing was added to the east end of the house. The one-story, one-room addition on the southeast corner of the south facade is even more recent. In plan, Ocean Hall consists of a central hall flanked by a single room on each side. It is believed that when the interior was rebuilt (or extensively altered) about 1725, the floor plan configuration was a hall and parlor, a two-room plan typical of this region throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries. Decorative details include paneling, molded chairrails, and a Federal mantel.
Although the extent of the alterations to the original Ocean Hall have made the structural interpretation of the building difficult, they have not destroyed the basic architectural significance found in a possibly unique American example of cruck roof framing and the well-preserved features of the ground floor room.