Michael O. Bourne
Mitchell House, Fair Hill
3370, Singerly Road (MD 213), Elkton, Cecil County
The Mitchell House is a 2 1/2-story side-hall, double parlor plan granite house with frame additions. The main gable runs east-west, while the primary facade has a southern exposure. The 18th century main block is three bays wide by two rooms deep, and approximately 25' x 31'. The 19th century brought many additions and alterations to the existing hall-parlor plan. A single-story stone wing was added to the back of the main block at an uncertain but probably 19th century date. Later in the 19th century, this was raised to two stories by the addition of a frame section. On the east, a more extensive addition was made to the gable end in the mid to late 19th century. This is a 2 1/2-story frame structure, two bays across by two rooms deep. The roofline of the early stone structure was continued with this addition. A late-19th or early-20th century one-story porch was added across the front and half of the west wall of the original house, but has since been removed. Other less significant and smaller additions were attached to the east and north sides of the residence. The 18th century house is constructed of coursed granite with an uncoursed fieldstone foundation. The structure has a medium-pitched gable roof sheathed in tin. The three-bay south facade holds an entrance with a four-light transom and paneled soffit and jambs in the eastern bay. Windows are 6/9 sash on the first floor and 6/6 on the second. The entrance is now covered by a one-story one-bay pedimented portico supported by Tuscan columns. Two additional bays to the east comprise the 19th century frame portion of the house, and hold 2/2 sash windows with paneled shutters on the first floor and louvered shutters on the second. The house is very deep, with a single window on each floor of the west gable end flanking the interior chimney, which is brick above the roofline. Small windows flank the chimney in the attic gable. The east end is four bays wide, with windows in the two northern bays and the two southern bays covered by a two-story polygonal bay window topped with a bracketed cornice. Two windows pierce the attic gable on this end. A brick chimney rises between the stone and frame portions.
The Mitchell House at Fair Hill is an important part of the architectural history of Cecil County. It is one of four houses that give the main intersection at Fair Hill its early to mid-19th century character. It exhibits a number of regional building characteristics, including construction with local stone and the presence of a pent eave across a gable end at cornice height. The house is also an interesting combination of high-style and vernacular architectural forms. The house was presumably built by Dr. Abraham Mitchell, shortly after he purchased the property in 1781. The house has a side hall, double parlor floor plan, which is a very early use of this plan in this area. It is constructed of dressed stone blocks, a fancier treatment than is seen in the more usual fieldstone construction. At the same time, the woodwork in the house is characteristic of the third quarter of the 18th century, and does not reflect the style consciousness evident in the features mentioned above.