Photo credit: MHT File Photo , Undated Photo

Property Name: Big Bottom Farm
Date Listed: 6/7/1984
Inventory No.: AL-III-C-044
Location: Cumberland, Allegany County

Description: This farm complex consists of a mid-19th century brick house, a late-19th century frame barn, and late-19th/early-20th century agricultural outbuildings including a machinery shed, two chicken coops, a corn crib, and a wash house, all of frame construction. The house has several relatively sophisticated Greek Revival-influenced features. It is a two-story, five-bay, gable-roofed building with an original two-story, two-bay extension to the rear. A late-19th century addition to the rear wing extended it by yet another bay. The main or west elevation is formal with evenly aligned openings and Flemish bond brickwork. Accenting the front elevation are central entrances at both the first and second stories and a porch inspired by the Greek Revival style, onto which the second story entrance opens. This porch has fluted Doric columns, a dentiled cornice, and a flat roof with an iron railing. The main entrance consists of a 4-panel door surrounded by a transom and sidelights. Windows are 6/6 sash with louvered shutters. Brick chimneys are located inside each gable end, and at the former end of the rear wing, before its extension. The north facade of the rear wing originally was likely a two-story porch, which has since been enclosed. The interior plan has a central stair hall with one large room on either side. The woodwork is typical of the mid 19th century, inspired by the Greek Revival style, and shows knowledge of the style's characteristics. The interior decorative detailing consists primarily of symmetrical moldings, fluted in the principal parlor, with simple mantels of flat pilasters supporting deep shelves.

Significance: Big Bottom Farm is significant for its architecture. The house exhibits the symmetrical five-bay elevation and center-hall plan which characterize farm dwellings in Western Maryland throughout the 19th century, in combination with Greek Revival stylistic features whose degree of sophistication is highly unusual in such a rural context. Its brick construction, flat-roofed entrance porch with fluted Doric columns supporting a full entablature, and Greek Revival-influenced mantels and architrave trim contribute to its architectural refinement, which is matched by few other Allegany County farmhouses of the period. According to local tradition, the farmhouse was built c. 1845 by John Jacob Smouse, whose family had landholdings in the Evitt's Creek area; architectural evidence confirms a mid-19th century construction date. The house retains considerable integrity, with the majority of its original detailing intact.


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