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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Michael F. Dwyer, 09/1974
Belair
Inventory No.: PG:71B-4,
Other Name(s): Belair Mansion
Date Listed: 9/17/1977
Location: 12207 Tulip Grove Drive , , Bowie, , Prince Georges County
Category: Site,Structure
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1740
Description: Belair is a five-part brick mansion whose 2 1/2-story central block was built c. 1740. The one-story hyphens and two-story wings were added in the early 20th century. The principal or garden facade faces south, and is seven bays in length. The central three bays are set in a 2 1/2-story pedimented pavilion, which has a bull's-eye window set within the pediment. The north facade has a pediment, but no projecting pavilion. All first and second floor windows have segmental arches of alternating header and stretcher brick, and contain 6/6 sash. Between the two floor levels, a brick belt course with molded cap extends around all four elevations. The north, west, and east elevations are laid in English bond while the south facade is of Flemish bond with glazed headers. The watertable is laid in English bond on all elevations; roof pediments at both the front and rear facades display the same treatment. The roof plan is a hip-on-hip, and there is a hip-roofed dormer window on both side elevations and one on each side of the pediment on the south facade. The house is set on a high brick foundation, and the watertable has a chamfered top course. The chimneys at the east and west ends are contained within the walls but project slightly from the outside surface of each. The entrance door of the south facade has a pediment supported by scroll brackets and trimmed with dentil molding and is framed by fluted pilasters. The main entrance of the north facade has a simple frame with fluted pilasters, but is sheltered by a fine pedimented portico with dentil cornice supported by tapered columns with Ionic capitals. The entire interior of the main block was renovated in the 19th century. All detail (including architraves, stairs, doors, cornices, mantels, jambs, and sash) is of the Federal period. The floor plan has remained largely unaltered as the partition walls are of brick. Two central halls, the smaller north one containing the stairs, are flanked by a living room on the west and a dining room and study on the east. Significance: The original portion of Belair is characteristic of a transitional period in Georgian architecture. The plain, segmental-arched windows and the absence of a portico suggest earlier work. However, Belair's low-pitched, hip-on-hip roof and projecting central pavilion are typical of later Georgian buildings. Home of two Maryland governors and a home of American thoroughbred racing, Belair also boasts some intact falls (south side) and early plantings, mainly trees, including the magnificent Tulip Grove approach. The trees at Belair include tulip poplars, hollies, American elms, eastern redcedars, a bur oak, a white oak, an American beech, a cucumbertree, and an ailanthus. The ailanthus is the state champion and the cucumbertree, a type of magnolia, is the national champion.
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