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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Ed Jones, 08/1975
Otwell
Inventory No.: T-164
Date Listed: 3/15/1982
Location: Otwell Road , Trappe Station, Talbot County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1720-1730; c. 1800-1810
Description: The brick house at Otwell is composed of two major parts, the first constructed around 1720-1730, and the other part around 1800-1810. The earliest portion of the building consists of the westerly gambrel roofed structure with a T-shaped plan. At the base of the T, at the east gable end of the earlier part, are appended three small sections with varying roof lines, constructed in the first decade of the 19th century. Beginning with the top of the T (west elevation), the building is three bays long with three windows on the first story and two dormers, asymmetrically placed above. Both the north and south gable ends are two bays deep with two windows on each story and a flush chimney rising between the pairs; on the south gable the pairs of windows are aligned exactly while the north gable windows on the second story are placed slightly closer together than their first story counterparts. Each gable end features, in addition, jack arch lintels over the windows and two symmetrically placed ventilators (grouped openings in the brickwork) on either side of the corbel-capped chimney just under the eaves line. On the east side of the head of the T, flanking the stem, are two dormer windows, the northernmost of which tops a window in the first story. The stem of the T is also three irregular bays wide, with an entrance in the center bay of the north side and two dormers, one above each window. The sash consists of 12/12 panes in the first story fenestration and 6/6 in the dormers and gables. The interior retains the original floor plan but the decorative detailing was extensively restored following a fire in 1958. Significance: Otwell is architecturally significant for its early 18th century T-shaped plan, quite sophisticated for its 1720-1730 period of construction; most other contemporaneous buildings of similar scale and materials were constructed in an L-plan. The three early 19th century additions are unusual in that they were built concurrently and strung out in a line to simulate the telescope house form popular on the Eastern Shore, although not in descending height. The exterior with its finely detailed brickwork retains a majority of its early 18th century and early 19th century fabric; the interior exemplifies a meticulous mid 20th century reproduction of the original with every attention paid to pre-fire configuration details and materials. Otwell maintains its important water-oriented location amid 37 acres of landscaped hedgerows on the landward (east, northeast) side of the building and continuously cultivated farmland once part of the original 500-acre tract.
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