Francis E. Engle
West Central Avenue (MD 214), Davidsonville, Anne Arundel County
Summer Hill is a 2 1/2-story frame dwelling, facing north, five bays wide and two deep. To the east is a two-story wing, two bays wide and two deep. The windows in both sections have 6/6 lights. On the main block the top edges of the five second-story windows are even with the lower edge of the fascia boards. The scrolled brackets of the cornice fill the soffit and extend to within a few inches of the bottom of the fascia. The same brackets continue along the barge and return. A similar treatment occurs on the wing although the brackets are not as elaborate. The entire house sits on a brick foundation of six-course common bond. The central double door on the north facade of the main block has three panels in each door and is flanked by narrow vertical windows of four lights over a vertical wood panel. Surmounting the door and sidelights is a 6-light rectangular transom. The south door in the central hall has six panels and is surmounted by a 3-light transom. Between the second and third bays from the west a chimney pierces the metal roof on the north and another on the south sides. A third chimney pierces the north side near the peak at the east end. The kitchen wing also has an inside end chimney on the east. In the central hall is a stairway that rises to the third floor attic. It has a heavy round newel and three heavy turned balusters per tread. The scrolled decoration on the step ends continues along the second and third floor landings. West of the central hall are two parlors connected by large, paneled, sliding doors. Each room has an interior fireplace with a projecting chimney breast with beaded edges. The gray marble fireplaces are early Victorian in style, each with a round-arch opening, paneled spandrels, and a curved mantel supported in the center by a large console. The northeast room has a nearly identical fireplace in black marble. The east wing may predate the main block. On the first floor are one room and a stair hall with one chamber above. The stairs are steep, with rectangular balusters and a ramped handrail. The six-paneled doors in this section appear to be of older construction than those in the main block.
Summer Hill is a typical Maryland farmhouse of the mid 19thcentury. The exterior is in transition between mid-19th century style, broadly derived from Greek Revival, and an earlier style derived from Federal-Georgian sources. The interior detailing especially the marble mantelpieces and heavy woodwork place the house definitely in the mid-century. The retarditaire appearance of the exterior typifies the reluctance of southern Marylanders to erect structures following the most recent architectural styles. On the interior, however, local builders felt free to use the most contemporary ornament.