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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT File Photo, Undated Photo
Denton House (River House)
Inventory No.: K-12
Other Name(s): Denton-Weeks House, River House
Date Listed: 3/11/1971
Location: 107 N. Water Street, Chestertown, Kent County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1784-87
Description: Located within the area designated as a National Historic Landmark in Chestertown, the Denton House, also known as the Denton-Weeks House or "River House", is on the southeast side of Water Street between Maple Avenue and High Street. The existing five-bay long street facade is unique in Chestertown. It stands three full stories above a high basement, separated by a painted, molded stone water table. The Flemish bond brickwork has a very narrow, convex, white mortar joint. Each window of the basement, first floor, and second floor is accentuated by a rusticated, painted stone, flat arch with keystone. On the first and second stories, the window lintel keystones are double, and the central window keystone of the second story is molded and carved. Basement windows are short 4/4 sash. Those on the first and second floors are 6/6 sash, while the third floor windows are 3/3 with no lintels. Between the first and second stories is a plain belt course of stone, painted white. The entrance is reached by a straight flight of wooden steps. Both the entrance door and reveals are paneled with molded raised panels and are flanked by plain Doric pilasters which support a full pediment. The outline of the original pediment was revealed when the 19th century porch was removed, thereby enabling an exact replica to be constructed. Brick pilasters at the corners of the facade rise three full stories from the water table up to the cornice and are a feature of the facade. A rosette carved in a square panel is recessed in a stone block, between the capital of each pilaster and the main cornice. The cornice is a simplification of a Corinthian design with the modillions and plancers (the soffit of a cornice) carved above the capitals only; the carved plancers repeat the design of the rosettes below. On the river facade, the basement is at ground level, creating a full story. The Flemish bond brickwork is similar to that used on the street (west) facade. Brick piers support a wood porch, supported by square columns. A simple balustrade extends between columns at both levels. Doors to the interior from each porch level are located in the central bays. The ground level porch has a wide, diamond chevron, batten door with original long iron strap hinges. The gable ends were originally without openings except for a door at the basement level on the southeast; and two casement windows flanking the flush chimney in each end of the attic. Significance: The affluence and influence of the combination college town on a navigable river is exemplified by the architecture of the Denton House, a waterfront residential property. The first professor of law (1791) at Washington College (founded 1782) was a former resident in the house, as was Miss Frances Denton, the former executive secretary to Colonel Edward House (1858-1938), advisor to President Woodrow Wilson. The house is known in Chestertown for its local architectural excellence. A room from the house was recognized by Mr. Henry Francis DuPont as worthy of being moved to Winterthur.
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