Paula Stoner Dickey
Leitersburg Pike (MD 60), Hagerstown, Washington County
The Dorsey-Palmer House is a two-story, five-bay stone dwelling with a two-story, four-bay rear wing. The entire building is constructed of roughly coursed fieldstone with particular care reflected in the masonry between the front and rear sections. There is no decorative stonework associated with the window or door openings. The windows on the first story of the front section have 9/9 light sashes, while all other major windows have 9/6 light sash. Pairs of 4/2 pane sash illuminate the attic. Several pairs of louvered shutters are present. The main entrance is located in the center bay of the south or front elevation, and has an unusual transom, two panes in height and four in width. The four-panel door does not appear to be original. A second-story door is located directly over the main entrance. Three entrances are located in the rear elevation of the main section, while four are to be found in the east elevation of the wing. A double porch framed under the main roof span extends along the entire front elevation, and is supported by square posts with carved brackets. A second double porch extends along the east elevation of the wing, and is supported by chamfered posts without trim. The roof structure is covered with sheet metal and extends beyond the end walls. The eaves are finished with boxing trimmed with simple moldings. Brick chimneys, moderate in size, rise from inside each gable end.
The Dorsey-Palmer House is primarily significant for its architecture. It is a good example of a five-bay, center-hall plan dwelling with an extension to the rear. Vaguely Georgian in form, it is representative of a major architectural group in the Cumberland Valley with examples dating from the late 18th through the first half of the 19th century. Much of the interior woodwork appears original and suggests, along with the exterior appearance of the structure, a circa 1800 or early 19th century building date. An unusual feature of this house is the double porch extending across the front elevation. Such porches at the front elevation are not common among Georgian-inspired houses in Washington County. Another unusual feature of this house is the use of large transoms over entrances in the front elevation. The house derives secondary historic significance from its use, according to tradition, as the residence and office of an early Washington County doctor, Frederick Dorsey.