Orlando Ridout V
Borden Mines Superintendent's House
Mt. Savage Road (MD 36), Frostburg, Allegany County
This c. 1850 house is a large frame Italianate structure consisting of several contemporary sections. The main section of the house is two stories high, four bays long, and three bays deep with a pitched gable roof. This forms the northeast section of the house and is oriented perpendicular to the hillside with the principal facade facing southeast. A hipped-roof two-story section extends to the southwest and is flush with the rear gable of the main house, forming an L-plan dwelling. A square three-story tower with a pyramidal roof is set into the apex of the L. This tower serves as entrance and stair hall and provides the strongest architectural feature of the house. A two-part one-story wing with hipped roofs extends to the west of the main house. The southeast gable facade and the southeast wall of the three-story tower form the principal facade of the house. A large bay window with triple 4/4 sash projects from the center of the southeast gable wall on the first floor. The 4/4 sash windows have round-arched lintels and are trimmed with plain architrave trim embellished with simple scrolled brackets below the sill. On the second floor, a large 9/6 round-arched window is centered over the bay window, flanked by a plain 4/4 sash window on either side. The facade is covered with plain horizontal weatherboards; the projecting bay is covered with flush siding. A beveled horizontal "baseboard" conceals the low brick and stone foundation at the base of the wall. The gable eaves and the projecting bay eaves oversail and are boxed in, with decorative brackets below the soffit applied against a wide, plain frieze. The three-story tower projects forward about two feet beyond the southeast gable wall. The entrance door is located on the southeast wall, with a round-arched opening and semicircular transom. A small window is centered on the second-story stair landing and a larger window is centered on the third story. The second-story window consists of a pair of two-light casements with crossetted trim. The third-floor window is segmentally arched, with a pair of five-light casements. A small balcony with a decorative balustrade originally projected in front of this window, but the balustrade has been removed, leaving a pent-like overhang supported by scrolled brackets. A one-story hip-roofed porch runs along the northeast side of the southeast section of the house. Other windows in the house are either 4/4 or 6/6 sash. A bank of five 1/1 sash windows on the rear are apparently the result of an alteration. The interior plan of the house is symmetrical, consisting of an L-shaped entrance and stair hall with four rooms radiating from it to the northeast and northwest and two more rooms in the one-story addition to the west. The house retains most of its original architrave and baseboard trim.
The Borden Mines Superintendent's House is an exceptionally fine example of the Italianate Villa style, and is one of the most elegant houses of this type in Allegany County. While many utilize traditional forms and plans with applied architectural detail, this house reflects a more academic design. The asymmetrical plan, the three-story tower, and a number of decorative details are a distinctive change from local tradition and are consistent with new designs advocated by professional architects in national publications. Stylistically, the house is typical of the third quarter of the 19th century, but may possibly be a somewhat late example of Italianate architecture. The house derives additional significance from its association with Albert C. Greene, first superintendent of the Borden Mining Company, who held that position from 1850 to 1882. The Borden Mining Company was organized in 1846 and continues to operate in the present day; it is one of the oldest coal mining companies in the United States conducting business in its original corporate form under an original charter. Albert C. Greene played a significant role in the early development of the company. He successfully managed its operations throughout the disruptions of the Civil War and the subsequent period of formidable competition by large mining conglomerates, labor unrest, and economic depression.