Jennifer K. Cosham
Christian Royer House
817, Fridinger Mill Road, Westminster, Carroll County
The Christian Royer House is located at the eastern corner of the intersection of Fridinger Mill Road and Old Bachman's Valley Road, northeast of Westminster. Built during the late 1820s to early 1830s, the building was constructed to serve dual functions as a farmhouse and a Church of the Brethren meeting house. The house is built in a style representative of many farmhouses in Carroll County. It is two stories with a five-bay by two-bay main section and a three-bay long central rear wing. The construction material is brick on a stone foundation. The main façade is laid in Flemish bond; common bond is used elsewhere. There is a wooden box cornice and a tin-covered gable roof. Interior end chimneys are located in the gable ends of the main section and rear wing. The rear wing has a double-tiered inset porch on both sides in the two bays adjoining the main section of the house. The house is built into a bank that slopes away from the main façade so that the foundation story of the rear wing is above ground. The double entrance of the main façade differs from the typical Carroll County farmhouse of this period. Eight-panel doors are located in the second and fourth bays of the first story. The other bays on this façade, the gable end and the outer bays of the rear façade of the main section have 6/6 double hung sash windows. The gable ends have two 4/2 attic windows flanking each chimney stack. There is a full-length one-story frame porch on the main façade with a curved underside to its roof. The only surviving outbuildings on the property are a late 19th century corn crib and a large 20th century barn.
The Christian Royer House presents an adaptation of the typical Carroll County farmhouse form, incorporating the function of a brethren meeting house with the design of a domestic farmhouse. The Brethren (or Society of Dunkers) met in the homes of members during its early years in the United States; however, a house design to facilitate worship services is unusual. The architectural characteristics that differentiate the Christian Royer House are: (1) The double entrance on the main façade similar to that found in meeting house architecture; (2) The folding wood-panel partition walls that open to provide single large space on the first floor; and (3) The extensive kitchen facilities, increased use of interior wood trim, and overall dimensions in comparison to other Carroll County farmhouses of this period. The religious, social, and community life shown in the history of the Royer family follows a pattern typical to the early settlement of Carroll County. The integration of religion with family and farm life was a predominant feature of this region and provided a foundation for the growth and progress of the community. In the Christian Royer House, some of these relationships are reflected in its architecture, and thus it presents in a physical form some of the traditions basic to the county's history.