David A. Dorsey
Francis Haley House
634, Maryland Avenue, Cumberland, Allegany County
By far the most elaborate dwelling in the surrounding area, the Francis Haley House is a c. 1870 Italianate influenced brick structure 2 1/2 stories high with a low gable roof and brick foundation. It consists of two perpendicularly placed rectangular blocks with a lower two-story gable roofed brick wing projecting from the back or east side of the block horizontal to Maryland Avenue. The bricks are laid in six-course. The roof of the main section of the house has a wide overhang with ornate scroll brackets. A one-story frame porch with chamfered square posts, scroll brackets, braces, drops, and cut-out balustrades stretches along the facade or west elevation of the south block of the main house. A one-story frame porch also with chamfered square posts and scroll brackets but now enclosed with windows and doors runs along the north side of the north block of the main house. The principal windows of the main house are 4/4 sash with louvered shutters. Small one-light round-arched windows are located in the three gables of the main house and two rectangular one-light windows pierce the east gables of the wing. The principal windows of the wing are 6/6 sash. The main entrance into the house is in the north bay of the south block. It consists of two wooden doors with one large rectangular window with beveled glass in each and a leaded-glass rectangular transom. The entire entranceway is now covered with storm doors and windows. The other entrances into the house are simple rectangular doorways. The house has three interior chimneys, two nearly centered in the main sections of the house and one on the end wall of the wing. A porch and balcony with a cut-out balustrade and chamfered posts extend along the north side of the wing. On the interior, the rooms are arranged around a center hall which contains the main staircase. Decorative detailing consists primarily of plain wide architrave molding, four-panel doors, and simple wooden mantels with flat chamfered pilasters. The stair balustrade is of cherry, and has turned newels and balusters. The walls are pilastered with wainscoting in the kitchen.
The Francis Haley House was erected as the residence of a brick manufacturer. Modest in scale and execution, the structure is a typical and well-preserved example of mid-20th century Italianate domestic architecture in Cumberland. It consists of two perpendicularly placed brick rectangular blocks with low gable roofs supported by brackets, round-arched windows in the gable ends, simple interior decorative detailing, and a concentration of decoration on the facade porch. Other examples of this type of house can be found throughout the older sections of Cumberland on the "lesser" residential streets. What separates them from the Italianates found on the wealthier avenues is the lack of elaborate detailing, primarily the square tower, stuccoed exteriors with bold window and door treatment, and stone mantelpieces. The house also acquires significance from its association with Francis Haley, a successful brick manufacturer who was responsible for the development of much of this section of Cumberland, and for whom the house was erected.