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Maryland's National Register Properties



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Hopeful Unity
Inventory No.: K-231
Other Name(s): Meeks Farm
Date Listed: 8/18/2015
Location: 25789 Lambs Meadow Road (MD 298) (formerly Fairlee Still Pond Road), Worton vicinity (formerly Lynch), Kent County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1761-c. 1860
Description: The house known as Hopeful Unity is a three-story, three-bay, four-room-plan brick building with a 1 1/2-story kitchen wing that was constructed in the mid-18th century. A front and rear porch were added in the 19th century. There have been some 19th-century alterations, including the roof on the main house and perhaps the porches were added at that time. The house features an elevated foundation with a water table that climbs up and around the basement windows as well as a belt course. The bricks are laid in Flemish bond on most of the structure, but the brick pattern on the annex appears to date earlier. The principal entrance is in the east bay on both the north and south facades. Windows in the center and west bays and all three on the second floor hold 6/6 sash. Two gabled dormers on either roof slope also contain 6/6 sash windows. The 1 1/2-story frame kitchen wing extends to the east. The exact date of construction of the building has not been determined. Construction of the main portion of the house has been attributed to Charles Groome, who acquired the property in 1761. The 1 1/2-story kitchen wing may incorporate an earlier structure. Documentary sources indicate it was constructed prior to 1770, and the earlier portion is likely to have been constructed prior to 1759 (evidence of buildings on the deed from Mary Watkins to Thomas Perkins in 1759). The house sits on a slight knoll at the end of a long driveway, originally facing south towards the headwaters of Still Pond Creek. The current front entrance faces north towards the road. There is a single Linden tree in front of the house, estimated age 150 years. The surroundings are entirely agricultural, and the original acreage now belonging to a tenant farmer is under agricultural preservation, thus the view of surrounding farm fields remains essentially the same since the house was constructed (with the exception of loss of the waterway). The house would have overlooked both the headwaters of Still Pond Creek and the Lynch/Cecil Quaker Meeting house and cemetery. Significance: The Hopeful Unity is significant for its architectural character, as a representative example of mid-18th century domestic architecture in the Eastern Shore region of Maryland. The quality of the design and construction of the house reflect the high socioeconomic status of its builder, Charles Groome, a founding vestryman at nearby IU Church (1767). Character-defining features include the side-passage plan, Flemish bond masonry, and stepped water table; these features are uncommon in rural contexts in the region. The main portion of the house was most likely built after George Groome's acquisition of the property in 1761; the kitchen wing may incorporate an earlier structure. The raised foundation and full water table, along with the belt course, are details found on houses that were built for owners who had significant financial resources. Groome's wealth at death reflects he was at the upper end of the socioeconomic scale. The exact date of construction was not mentioned in any source documents available prior to the ownership of Hopeful Unity by Groome, but was referred to by Groome in his will as the "home plantation." The house is unusual in that houses of this type were more commonly found within a town or settlement, not standing alone in an agricultural setting. The house has recently benefited from a comprehensive rehabilitation following the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. The period of significance, ca. 1761-ca. 1860, spans the period during which the house substantially achieved its historic and current form and appearance.
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