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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Orlando Ridout V, 03/1978
Cray House
Inventory No.: QA-259
Date Listed: 5/9/1983
Location: 109 Cockey Lane , Stevensville, Queen Annes County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: Early 19th century
Description: The Cray House is located on the west side of Cockey's Lane, at the western edge of Stevensville. The house was built in two stages. The earlier section consists of a three bay, 1 1/2-story house built of an unusual type of post-and-plank construction. A frame three bay addition was made to the south end of the house, and the roof of the earlier section was removed and replaced with a gambrel roof that extends the full length of the enlarged house. In overall appearance the resulting house bears much in common with a house type that seems relatively common for the late 18th and early 19th century in Queen Anne's County. The early section remains fairly ordered, with a central door on each facade flanked by 6/6 windows. The north gable end is uninterrupted by door or window openings, and the chimney is "paneled," the brickwork exposed up to the second floor level. Numerous examples of this type of small, gambrel roofed house remain throughout the county. Also, the modest dimensions of the original house (16' x 22') reflect what was a common size for dwelling houses in the Tidewater well into the 19th century. What is distinctly unusual about the Cray House is the manner in which the earlier section is constructed. Wide, hand-sawn log planks averaging 2 3/4" x 14" in size have been mortised and tenoned into vertical corner posts, with intermediate posts laid against the interior face of the log walls and secured with pegs driven through the posts and into the log planks. Post and plank construction is quite unusual in Tidewater Maryland, and examples in which the planks run continuously from corner post to corner post, with intermediate posts stabilizing the wall, were virtually unknown before this example was uncovered. Significance: When first discovered, the Cray House was thought to be a unique survival of an unusual type of post-and-plank construction. Subsequent investigations have shown that a number of these buildings remain, scattered throughout Tidewater Maryland. Unfortunately, almost all of these buildings are in threatened condition. The majority of the known examples are either small farm buildings or have been adapted as kitchen wings for larger houses. The Cray House and two buildings in Southern Maryland are the only examples which have remained relatively intact as dwelling houses.
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