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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Mark R. Edwards, 02/1980
Old Bloomfield
Inventory No.: T-175
Date Listed: 12/3/1980
Location: Bloomfield Road , Bloomfield, Talbot County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: early 18th century; c. 1840
Description: The house at Old Bloomfield is a large and sprawling structure constructed in three major sections. The earliest part consists of a 1 1/2-story brick section with a steeply pitched roof that is cantilevered out at the rear to form an overhang along the northwest facade. This section appears to date to the early 18th century. In the second quarter of the 19th century a 1 1/2 story frame addition was made to the southwest gable, and in the late 19th century a two story frame wing was constructed on the southwest end of this earlier addition. The early brick section is three bays long, with a single room on each floor. A flush brick chimney rises on the center of the northeast gable, serving a fireplace on each floor. The original brickwork has been stuccoed, but exposed patches on the rear facade and the southwest gable reveal Flemish bond above a plain watertable and an English bond foundation. The front facade, facing southeast, is composed of an entrance door with 4-light transom in the left bay and two windows to the left. Two 19th century gable-roofed dormers are symmetrically placed on the second floor. The eave is finished with a box cornice and crown mold. Beaded and tapered rakeboards survive on the gable eaves. The chimney has a corbeled cap with a two-course band that probably was finished with plaster necking at one time. On the rear facade, the roof overhangs approximately four feet and the gable soffits are finished with beaded weatherboards. The fenestration on the rear facade is not symmetrical, with a door in the right bay, two windows to the left, and a small four-light opening at the north end of the facade. This latter opening is of uncertain purpose. It is screwed in place, and lights a horizontal shaft that opens into a large rectangular void in the gable chimney. In the second quarter of the 19th century, probably c. 1840, a major addition was made to the southwest gable of the earlier house. This addition has brick gable walls and frame facades, with a single large chimney on the rear facade. It is narrower than the original house, and is set flush with the front facade. A square brick "tower" on the southwest elevation of the southwest gable appears to be contemporary with the rest of the addition. This addition is six bays long, and consists of center stair hall flanked by an unheated parlor on the northeast side of the hall and a large parlor to the southwest heated by a large flush chimney on the rear wall. A small frame dairy dating to the late 19th century is located to the rear of the house. A row of farm buildings along the northeast side of the driveway includes a heavy timber frame crib 10’ x 22’, and a barn 47’ wide and 30’ deep. Both buildings are constructed of circular sawn timber, and probably date to the third quarter of the 19th century, but are similar in form and construction to much earlier buildings. Significance: Old Bloomfield is significant as a farmstead that has remained in the same family as a working farm continuously since the 17th century. Old Bloomfield can thus yield information important in the history of a county that over the past two decades is rapidly changing from agrarian to suburban in lifestyle. Old Bloomfield also derives significance for the architectural merit of the house, which was built in two sections. The earliest portion is an exceptional example of an early-18th century vernacular house which includes a number of unusual features such as a cantilevered rear roof, a curious small window and air shaft on the rear facade, and small arched recesses in the cheek walls of the first floor fireplace. The frame addition, dating to c. 1840, is unusual in both form and plan having a six-bay facade with a center hall that is unusually small serving more as a lobby-entrance than a passageway and having tight winder stairs at the rear with no rear door, as is generally found in houses of this period.
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