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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Ellen Coxe, 02/1980
Cannonball House
Inventory No.: T-61
Date Listed: 12/3/1980
Location: 200 Mulberry Street , St. Michaels, Talbot County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: early 19th century
Description: Cannonball House is an early-19th century, 2 1/2-story brick structure with a dormered gable roof, three bay north fa├žade, and later wings and porches attached to the east and south sides. The brick is laid with extremely thin mortar joints in Flemish bond on the street elevations (north and west) and common bond on the south (five courses of stretchers to one course of headers) and east (random courses of stretchers between each course of headers) walls. The regular color of the bricks is obscured by a whitish cast overlay. The principal windows of the main block have double-hung wooden sashes with 9/6 lights, beaded surrounds, splayed brick flat arches, wooden sills, and louvered wooden shutters with plain iron holders. The facade or north elevation of the main block has three bays with the entrance located in the west bay, a two-light window with three wooden ventilator bays centered in the foundation below the first floor windows, and a wooden boxed cornice resting on a plain fascia with complex bed molding and topped by a series of crown moldings with a middle cyma. Two gable-roofed, pedimented dormers with round-arched 9/6 sash windows project from the roof on the north elevation. The elevation along St. Mary's Square (west) is also three bays wide with two 6/6 windows in the gable and two in the foundation. The rear or south elevation is three bays wide with two gable-roofed dormers projecting from the roof and a shed-roofed enclosed frame porch stretching across the first story. The second story has 9/6 double-hung windows detailed similar to those on the front elevation. The east elevation of the house (the side least visible from a street) has random course brick bonding with four, six and eight courses of stretchers between the header courses. On the first floor, a 9/6 window punctuates the second floor with a 6/6 window with one course splayed flat arch lintel wedged in the apex of the gable. A shed roofed brick wing, two stories high along Mulberry Street and one story on the back, projects from the south portion of the east elevation of the main block. This wing, though not connected to the main block by a door or window, is believed to be fairly contemporary with the main block. Significance: The significance of Cannonball House is derived from two sources. First, as a fully articulated Federal style house, the building is an example of the type of domestic architecture that was erected in the urban center of the Eastern Shore in the early decades of the 19th century. Among the important design features of these houses that are found in Cannonball House are the side-hall-double-parlor arrangement of rooms in the principal section, the interplay of shapes and patterns in both form (here the round arch in a rectangular hallway) and decoration (the use of ovals and rectangles in the decoration of the arch, the herringbone patterned chairrail, and the plain and decorated blocks in the mantelpieces), and a sophistication in execution indicating an awareness on the part of the craftsman and the people for whom these houses were erected of what was currently fashionable in the major style centers. Second, Cannonball House achieves significance in local history as having been erected as the residence of William Merchant, a successful shipbuilder, and its association with the 1813 attack on Saint Michaels by British forces.
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