MHT File Photo
200, 202, 204, 206 and 208 Decatur Street Row Houses
200-208, Decatur Street, Cumberland, Allegany County
The group of rowhouses on the west side of Decatur Street in Cumberland known as 200, 202, 204, 206, and 208 Decatur Street consists of five adjoining brick structures with a common facade and a brick cornice. The brick is laid in 7-course common bond. Each house is 2 1/2 stories high with a cut stone foundation and three bays across the Decatur Street facade. The southerly end building (#200) has four bays along the side elevation. Each bay has flat brick arches. Most windows have double-hung wooden sashes with 6/6 lights. The bottom sashes of the first floor windows on the facade and first two windows along Fulton Street of #200 and the upper level windows of #206 have one light. The common walls between the units and the northerly and westerly end walls extend above the roof line. Each of these walls contain double interior chimneys except the wall between #200 and #202 which appears to have had only one chimney originally. The facade of #208 is covered in modern siding. Each unit has a masonry stoop. The door in the southern bay of the three center units (#s 202, 204, and 206) hold transoms. Renovations have been made to the interiors, however, bits of the original fabric remain. Some of the woodwork in the front room of #202 is simple in design and characteristic of the late Neo-Classical period.
This group of mid-19th century rowhouses is significant for its architecture. It represents an urban form of domestic architecture that is not commonly found in Cumberland. The rowhouse, a major tool for defining urban scale and space, was overshadowed in popularity in this Western Maryland town by the detached and semidetached house, even after late-19th century industrialism created the pressure for more housing and denser land occupation. The Decatur Street group is one of the oldest rows remaining in the city. It was built in the 1840s or early 1850s. Decatur Street is a part of Smith's Addition to Cumberland and was laid out in the mid 1840s. The rowhouse group is shown on a map of Cumberland published in 1853. Decatur Street was a fashionable residential neighborhood well into the 20th century. It was named in honor of Commodore Stephen Decatur, hero of the American expeditions against the Barbary pirates. The street never attained the "upper class" status that was associated with the Washington Street area, although various professional families resided along it. This group of rowhouses, constructed c. 1840s-1850s, is indicative of the atmosphere that once characterized the street. Neither pretentious or massive, the building has a refined and intimate quality showing the scale of human use. Its classically lined facade creates a rhythm that is carried along the street in the facades of other mid-19th century classical buildings.