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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Michael O. Bourne, 10/1997
Union Chapel
Inventory No.: HO-7
Date Listed: 3/17/1975
Location: Roxbury Mills Road (MD 97), Glenwood, Howard County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1833
Description: Completed in 1833, Union Chapel is a rectangular two-story building of stuccoed stone construction. The principal facade faces east and is three bays across at both the first and second story levels. The first story, which is fronted by a masonry stoop extending the width of the front elevation and ascended by several steps, has a centered triple window of 12/12 sash flanked by narrower windows of 3/3 sash. Flanking the window are single, transomed doors. There are three windows across the second floor. The center one is a near duplicate of that below, but has 12/8 rather than 12/12 panes. On either side, positioned above the doors, are smaller windows of 12/8 sash each. Two first-floor windows of 12/8 sash constitute the only openings in either of the end elevations. On the rear elevation is a centered, one-story extension that has a stained glass window, similar in size to the two largest facade windows, on its back wall. On both side walls of this shallow projection are narrow windows of 6/6 sash that have been lowered about two feet from their original positions. Other exterior detail includes the gable roof, with the rear slope extended to accommodate the extension. At each end of the roof ridge is a single-flue stove chimney. The eave cornices on both front and back are boxed and decorated with single ogee moldings. On the interior, the first floor level consists of a single room with three sets of pews separated by two aisles. On three sides (north, south, and east) is a shallow balustraded gallery, supported by turned tapered Doric columns. Centered on the rear (west) wall is an elevated platform with a balustrade extending across its entire length, which holds a central lecturn within an elaborate alcove. One of the two original flights of enclosed stairs to the gallery remains. The roof and second floor ceiling framing employs a truss system for support. Extending across the building from end to end is a 14" x 14" beam that has an equally large post centrally positioned on it. Angled braces, extending up from each end of the beam to the upper sides of the post, prevent the beam and plastered ceiling from sagging. Sawn joists are mortised into the beam and lapped and pinned over the wall plates. The roof rafters, many of rough finished saplings, are mortised and tenoned at the ridge and butted and nailed into the joist ends. To the rear of the chapel is the attractively landscaped non-sectarian Oak Grove Cemetery. Significance: Union Chapel is significant for its architecture, particularly the woodwork and support structure of its interior, and for its contribution to the history of religion in this part of the state. The chapel traces its history to 1831 when Charles D. Warfield, a member of a prominent Maryland family of the same surname that settled this region, deeded the property to the residents of the area for non-denominational church and community use. When the chapel was built in 1833, ten men were appointed trustees, five of them representing the Methodist church and five various other faiths. Although the building for many years served its intended functions, it eventually became more and more closely associated with the Methodists and was with increasing frequency utilized by them as a chapel. Even today it is considered the property of the Methodist church, although the board of trustees retain near complete control over its future.
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