MHT File Photo
Cloverleaf Drive, Frederick, Frederick County
Arcadia is a 45-room mansion overlooking the Monocacy Battlefield. Finished with white stucco, Arcadia now has a five-part Palladian form with a 2 1/2-story five-bay gable-roofed main block connected to 2 1/2-story hip-roofed pavilions by 2-story hyphens. The original house, reportedly built around 1790, has been obscured by Victorian additions and renovations. The exterior surface of Arcadia has relatively little decoration. The north wing and the main block have a heavy Victorian cornice. A Queen Anne tower with polychrome slate sides and pyramidal roof were added to the roof over the main entrance. To either side is a gable-roofed dormer with a round-arched window with tracery. Three such dormers appear on the rear roof slope. A porch with square posts and a balustrade covers the central entrance and one bay to each side of the front facade. The hyphens were originally one story, and a second floor was added to the north pavilion reportedly by Dr. David McKinney who purchased the house in 1865. The southern pavilion has been extensively altered by the addition of a two-story bay window which covers the entire front. Neither the arched openings in the bay nor its mansard roof with circular windows are repeated in the rest of the house. Other openings are rectangular, and the roofs have patterned slate shingles. Some windows retain their 6/6 pane sash, but some have been changed to 2/2. On each side of the main block are interior chimneys with flues that arch in the gable ends to form a massive stack. In each gable is a large rose window with clear glass. The interior of Arcadia was extensively and elaborately Victorianized. The main entrance hall is divided by an elliptical arch visually supported by slender pilasters on pedestals. Doors from the parlor and dining room have paneled transoms. Throughout, there are wood mantels. Those on the first floor have a shelf supported on each side with a slender column. The stair hall is adjacent to the dining room and perpendicular to the main hall. Its dogleg stair with oak balusters has a massive newel post. In the southern pavilion there is an arched marble fireplace which retains its large gold-framed overmantel mirror. Arcadia retains several outbuildings. To the rear of the house is a brick building and a stone one. North of the house is a fine brick carriage house with segmental arched openings and a tin jerkinhead roof.
Arcadia Mansion is significant for its role in the Civil War. Because of General Lee's invasion of Maryland prior to the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam, Colonel Pendleton stayed at Arcadia after his journey from Leesburg and bivouacked his artillery along Ballenger Creek. The mansion also served as General Meade's headquarters when he superceded General Hooker. From there, he marched his troops to Gettysburg. General Early formed his troops at Arcadia for an assault on Washington. However, they were opposed by General Wallace, and the Confederates were delayed in their march on Washington, possibly saving the city from destruction. After the battle, Confederate wounded were taken to Arcadia. Dr. David McKinney, the surgeon in charge of the Federal hospital across the creek at the Markell Estate, was so impressed with the mansion and surrounding area that he purchased it from Robert McGill in 1865. Arcadia Farm remained in the McKinney family until 1968. Arcadia is a large structure situated on a hill, dominating the surrounding landscape. The original house is not readily apparent since there have been additions and extensive remodeling during the latter part of the 19th century. The interior is Victorian as it’s the exterior trim and the tower. One wing is consistent with the main house in design; the other was later modernized, probably in the 1890s, by the addition of a two-story bay window to the front and a mansard roof. Adjacent to the mansion is a fine, well-designed small barn and/or carriage house. Thus, Arcadia is significant for its historical associations and as an interesting mix of architectural features which have become a local landmark.