Michael O. Bourne
Bay Shore Road, Taylors Island, Dorchester County
Constructed c. 1857-1860, the house at Ridgeton Farm is an Italianate style, frame mansion of two stories raised about four feet above grade and resting on a brick foundation. It is three bays long and three bays deep and has a hip roof with a center gable, a widow's walk, and two huge interior chimneys. The northwest facade has a one-story screened porch supported by pairs of square columns. Its cornice is composed of shaped brackets with drop finials. The main cornice is slightly heavier and the brackets are pierced. Double windows of the front facade have 4/4 pane sash and louvered shutters. The central window of the second story is composed of three parts with a heavy lintel above. Shutters are lacking on the latter as well as the small round-arched window in the gable. Remaining windows have 6/6 sash with louvered shutters. The huge chimneys which flank the widow's walk are remarkable in that they have a set-back, as well as a recessed panel in each face, and decorative cap. The floor plan of both stories is composed of a central stair hall with two rooms on each side. The hall and parlor ceilings have some elegant pierced plaster work along the border as well as a medallion in the center. The door and window architraves resemble the work of the Greek Revival period. Mantels around each of the eight fireplaces are wood and of the simple design of that period. There is a 1 1/2-story wing to the rear of the building and a second one-story wing, the former reputedly an earlier structure. Also on the property is a complex of 19th century barn and sheds.
During the second half of the 19th century, this imposing Victorian mansion was the seat of one of the most influential men in the county and the center of a prosperous farm. Today, in spite of its succession of owners, Ridgeton wears its 120 years with grace and dignity, and is one of the most important Victorian-style dwellings in Maryland.