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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT File Photo, Historic photo
Whitehaven Hotel
Inventory No.: WI-103
Date Listed: 5/10/1996
Location: 2685 Whitehaven Road (MD 358), Whitehaven, Wicomico County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1810-15; c. 1883
Description: The Whitehaven Hotel, a three-story, mansard-roofed frame structure, facing south. The large U-shaped hotel rests on a low brick pier foundation, and the exterior is clad with plain weatherboard siding mixed with a few beaded weatherboards. The steeply pitched mansard roof is covered with asphalt shingles. Built in several stages, the center core of the hotel is a Federal side hall/parlor dwelling, erected around 1810-1815. The braced timber frame house survives with much of its early-19th century interior woodwork. The exterior, on the other hand, was reworked when a large hotel addition was attached to the west gable end and a mansard roof replaced the previous gable roof. Extending to the east side of the Federal house is a c. 1900 frame addition with a two-story bay window on its south facade. The south elevation is an asymmetrical five-bay facade with an uneven series of door and window openings marking the first floor. A wraparound porch formerly sheltered the first floor. The porch posts and some of the decorative corner brackets are stored within the building. Windows are variously 2/2, 6/6, and 9/6 sash, some apparently reused from the early-19th century portion of the house. Unifying the uneven five-bay facade is a mansard roof, distinguished by a center gable which is also executed with a mansard roof line. A 6/6 sash window pierces the center of the gable, and 6/6 sash gable-roofed dormers mark the roof slope to each side. An historic photograph of the hotel indicates the former presence of decorative sawnwork brackets that embellished the inside corners of the front gable. Rising through the center of the hotel is a large brick chimney stack. The west side of the hotel, which faces Whitehaven Road, is a three-bay facade with two sets of double doors occupying the center and northern bays. Each of the double-door openings are topped by transoms. A large 2/2 sash window pierces the wall to the south. The second floor is pierced by three evenly spaced 6/6 sash windows, and the third floor boasts a center mansard-roofed gable and flanking 6/6 sash dormers. The north wall of the c. 1883 addition is defined by a single large 2/2 sash window on the first floor and single 6/6 sash windows on the second and third floors. The rear wall of the early-19th century house was covered by an early-20th century infill structure, which has since been demolished. The east end of the main hotel is covered by a two-story c. 1900 addition with a low-pitched gable roof and a two-story bay window on the south facade. The south and east walls are marked by 2/2 sash windows and a narrow brick stove chimney rises though the east side. The interior of the hotel retains much of its early and later 19th century woodwork. Significance: The Whitehaven Hotel is significant as an example of a type of hotel architecture which characterized the Lower Eastern Shore region in the late 19th century. The Second Empire style was chosen infrequently for residential architecture in the region, but was favored for hotels, where the style's characteristic tall mansard roof offered space for additional rooms. The Whitehaven Hotel is the only surviving mansard-roofed hotel in Wicomico County, and one of only three such buildings in the general region. The Whitehaven Hotel derives additional significance for its association with waterborne commerce in the region. Steamboats plying the Wicomico River in the late 19th and early 20th century stopped at the village wharf a short distance from the hotel; travelers en route between Princess Anne in Somerset County and Vienna in Dorchester County crossed the Wicomico by means of a ferry at Whitehaven. The hotel served commercial travelers and the general public, providing lodgings, meals, and various forms of entertainment. It is the sole survivor of a string of water-oriented commercial structures which existed in Whitehaven around the turn of the 20th century.
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