Orlando Ridout V
Larkin's Hill Farm
Mill Swamp Road, Harwood, Anne Arundel County
Larkin's Hill Farm is a 1 1/2-story south-facing gambrel-roofed brick house with a 20th century wing. Typical of 18th century houses built in Tidewater Maryland, it is brick, all-header bond on the east and north walls and English bond on the west and south sides. The gambrel roof lines of the three sections of the house run north-south. The four-bay wide main section has a large flush chimney at each of its north and south ends, the western one being topped with corbeling. The main entrance is in the third bay from the west, and is covered by a one-bay-wide gabled portico. The entrance and the three windows on each elevation of the first floor of the main block have arched lintels of alternating single, glazed, and rubbed brick headers. The windows are double-hung, 9/9 sash at the first floor, 6/6 in the four shed-roofed dormers on either side of the roof. The original entrance was in the east end, towards the water. Hence the "showcase" brickwork appears as all-header bond on the east and north walls. This is an early example of all-header bond. A sunporch was added to the south end of the building in the early 20th century, and in the mid 20th century a north end wing was added. This section is connected to the main block by a shorter gable-roofed hyphen containing a shallow shed-roofed dormer. The plan of the house consists of four first-floor rooms and the stair hall with two bedrooms above. In the main section raised paneling appears in the central hall, over and around the parlor fireplaces, and as the soffit, or underside, of the staircase, and is all of early design. The three first-floor fireplaces are on the diagonal and in the inside corners of each room. Two of the hearths are laid with hexagonal bricks. A fourth fireplace is closed and conceals the modern furnace piping, using the flue. There are two more fireplaces on the second floor. Four flues are known to run into one chimney stack.
In 1661, 650 acres of land in the center of lower Anne Arundel County were surveyed and patented in 1663 to John Larkin, an early Quaker settler in the area. In 1683 the estate served as a temporary capital of Maryland. Larkin later operated an inn here as a stopping place on the first regular postal route in Maryland. This route ran from St. Mary's to Annapolis. One of the several frame outbuildings, all of which have disappeared, was a very early courthouse. Governor Sir Lionel Copley and his Council met there in 1692; Colonel Nicholas Greenbury and his Council met there in 1694. The present brick house was built during the ownership of Captain John Gassaway, shortly after his acquisition of the property in 1753. The initials JG are carved into a brick adjacent to the house. The house is constructed of brick laid in a header-bond pattern on the principal facade of the house, and English bond on the other walls. Expensive header-bond brick was used primarily between the years 1740 and 1780. The raised paneling on the interior is of very early design, and the fireplace arrangement is believed to have been influenced by the Swedes who settled in Delaware during the mid 17th century.