Jennifer K. Cosham
1111, Slingluff Road, New Windsor, Carroll County
Avalon is an early 19th century brick house located at the end of a dirt lane on the south side of MD 31, approximately 1 mile east of the town of New Windsor in Carroll County, Maryland. The house is unique in the county in its refined expression of Neoclassical influence, and stands 1 1/2 stories high above an exposed basement constructed into a gentle slope. The west façade is laid in Flemish bond, and divided into three equal bays, with the central bay slightly recessed. The entrance, located in the central bay of the principal story, comprises a large double door framed with 3/3 sidelights, paneled pilasters, and a complex bracketed hood mold, the flanking bays hold 12/12 windows. A long flight of wooden steps reaches an open entrance porch; beneath this porch, a single door provides access to the ground (cellar) story, with an 8/8 window in each of the flanking bays. There is no watertable or belt course. Wooden panels are set into the brickwork at the half-story. A deep bracketed cornice runs along the eaves of the metal-clad gable roof. The south gable wall is also Flemish bond; a two-story retaining wall projects perpendicular to the east end of this wall. The common-bond north gable wall has a large doorway which served a breezeway which formerly connected the house to the 1 1/2-story gable-roofed brick summer kitchen standing just to the north. Also on the property is a large cellar dug into the bank behind the house, remaining from an early outbuilding since demolished. The interior is organized in a piano nobile plan, with each story partitioned into four rooms of unequal size. A remarkable freestanding spiral stair rises through the southwest hall. Interior decorative detailing comprises mantels, doors, architrave, and baseboard trim reflecting Federal and Greek Revival designs. The building retains a high level of integrity.
Avalon is significant for its architecture. In form and detailing, the house presents an urbane expression of Neoclassical influence which is unique in rural Carroll County. The ground story of the house is constructed against a partially excavated slope, consistent with the traditional bank-house form which characterized vernacular domestic architecture in Piedmont central Maryland in the 18th and early 19th century; this tradition is expressed as a highly refined piano nobile form featuring an exceptional freestanding spiral staircase and elegant Neoclassical detailing.