Richard J. Brand
Michael Cresap House
Main Street, Oldtown, Allegany County
The Michael Cresap House is a two-part stone and brick house, facing south. The western section, a three-bay wide 2 1/2-story fieldstone structure on a high basement, is the oldest portion. The basement level contains an entrance, as does the first floor, which is sheltered by a shed-roofed porch. Windows are 2/2 sash throughout. The basement windows are covered by iron bars, dating from a period when the basement was used as a jail. The west gable end has no openings; a brick interior chimney rises from the standing-seam metal roof at this end. The north elevation was built against an almost perpendicular slope in order to allow a stream to run through the basement. The north wall of the basement is underground and the first floor is at the hillside ground level. Both the first and second stories of the north wall contain entrances. Attached to the east gable end of the building is shorter 2-story brick wing, also three bays wide with a central entrance, which is topped by a transom. This addition has a flush brick chimney in its east gable end. On the interior, the wood trim is of the late 18th or early 19th centuries, indicating that the principal rooms were remodeled. There is no interior doorway between the fieldstone and brick sections of the building.
The Michael Cresap House is significant for its age, as well as its association with Michael Cresap (1742-1775), a well known Ohio frontiersman. The town of Oldtown had been established by Cresap's father, Thomas, who built a fortified trading post and home. Until the establishment of Cumberland, Oldtown was the only settlement in Maryland west of the Conococheague Creek in Washington County.