Solomon Arter House
4029, Geeting Road, Union Mills, Carroll County
The c. 1810 Solomon Arter House is representative of Pennsylvania German domestic architecture in Carroll County, and is significant for the preservation of its interior stenciling. The house is a two-story, three-bay structure of log construction. It has a gable roof, and originally had interior brick chimneys at each end. The main façade faces south and has a central entrance, and was altered in the late 19th century with the construction of a full-length porch and a projecting one-bay pantry. The interior consists of a central hall plan and originally had four rooms (two to each side) on both stories. On the second story, the northeast bedroom contains several sections of original stencil decoration which runs from floor to ceiling and consists of two large motifs. Stenciling in the second story hall and at the cornice level of the southeast bedroom is also seen at selected spots. During a January 1985 remodeling, stenciled designs were also revealed at the cornice level (but which apparently ran from floor to ceiling originally) in the two rooms on the west side of the first story. The history of the property also reflects the early 18th century culture of the Pennsylvania Germans in this area. At one time, there was a small log mill, a blacksmith shop, and numerous agricultural outbuildings. Today the 1872 bank barn, hogpen, and 1883 frame Victorian tenant house (which also has a pantry projection like the main house) remain on the site.
The Solomon Arter House provides a unique perspective on the interior finishes of Pennsylvania German architecture through the preserved examples of stenciling found in its rooms. The structure is representative of Pennsylvania German farmhouse dating from the early 19th century in the northern section of Carroll County. While the characteristics of the house are typical of a middle-class farmstead in this region, the preserved evidence of the stencil decoration which uses folk motifs and appears throughout the house, provides many insights into Pennsylvania German finishes. The house was built by Solomon Arter, a member of the Arter family that was prominent in the Pennsylvania German culture of this region. The house and farm complex as they stand today show the growth and evolution of a Pennsylvania German farmstead through the 19th century.