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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: George Dyson, 06/1988
Widow's Pleasure (DELISTED)
Inventory No.: CH-373
Other Name(s): Piney Farm
Date Listed: 4/18/1991
Location: Piney Church Road , Waldorf, Charles County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1850
Description: Widow's Pleasure is a small farmstead containing typical outbuildings related to farm maintenance and stock, and typical outbuildings related to crop and livestock experimental productions. In addition to the mid-19th century frame house, there are two tobacco barns, a large poultry house, a small poultry house, corn crib, machine shed, smoke (meat) house, storage building, privy, and a small tool storage shed. Begun in the mid 19th century, the main house consists of three principal parts. The northernmost, facing west, was constructed c. 1850 and consists of a two-story gable-roofed building with one room on each floor and an interior chimney in the south gable end. The west facade has a central door and a 6/6 sash window to its south. Connected to this building by a one-story hall attached to the south gable end, is a 1 1/2-story gable-front section two bays wide, with door in the north bay of the west facade, a 4/4 sash window to its south, and another 4/4 sash window in the attic gable. A stove chimney rises from the interior of the east gable end of this south section, north of the roof ridgeline. The hall connecting these two sections has a door in the east end, and a three-part window on the west side. Along the south wall of the 1 1/2-story south portion is a shed-roofed kitchen wing, which was originally a porch enclosed c. 1900. The west facade of this kitchen holds a 6/6 sash window. A pantry was added to the east end of this kitchen in 1925 as a one-story sun porch which was later enclosed. A porch was added to the south of the kitchen and pantry, with an exterior brick stove chimney just west of the end of the porch. In 1935 windows were installed throughout the building and much of the existing window and door trim was covered or replaced with four-inch wide multi-beaded trim. The original cellar under the south section and kitchen was extended under the pantry during the 1935 renovations. Significance: Widow's Pleasure is important as one of the few remaining farmsteads in Charles County which reflects a significant period in the county's agricultural history. In the half century following the Civil War and up almost to the beginning of World War II, Charles County faced economic depression which reached its greatest depth during the late 19th century. The impact of the Civil War on the county's economy, a tobacco mono-culture, was particularly disastrous. Today this is reflected in the near complete absence of noteworthy buildings dating from 1860 to 1940. Charles County farmers turned to crop diversification programs which included growing vegetables and fruit, bees, and poultry for the local markets. The eleven buildings present at Widow's Pleasure demonstrate a series of attempts on the part of a poor farmer to diversify the agricultural output of the typical Charles County farmstead. The various additions to the original small frame house demonstrate the economic ups and downs of owners who attempted new ventures with limited success, and eventually moved away from the farm. The outbuildings which were used to support the needs of the farm and family demonstrate the historical self-sufficiency of early farmers. This complex makes an interesting contrast with the Thainston and McPherson farmsteads which were owned by more affluent Charles County farmers and are characterized by more substantial and permanent buildings and structures.
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