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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT File Photo, 01/1977
Inventory No.: K-10
Other Name(s): Water Lot #16
Date Listed: 10/31/1972
Location: 101 N. Water Street, Chestertown, Kent County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1769
Description: Widehall is a large, 2 1/2-story, mid-Georgian, brick dwelling house located at 101 Water Street, Chestertown, Maryland. It occupies water lot #16 of the original town map and is within the National Historic Landmark area in Chestertown. The house is constructed on a high stone basement. Above the windows all header bond is used, as well as below and above the quarter-round molded watertable on the northwest and southwest sides. Entrance to the house is gained up two flights of steps, interrupted by a terrace of sandstone paving blocks. Many of the original sandstone steps remain as well as a stone retaining wall, above which are brick piers with stone finials, part of an early clairvoie. The front (northwest) doorway is framed by an original, classical, Doric architrave, with fluted, engaged columns and a full pediment. The four windows of the first story and five of the second story, as well as eight on both levels of the southwest facade, have wood lintels with superimposed keystones. The windows have 12/12 sash and louvered shutters, not original to the house. The main cornice, hip-on-hip roof and dormers date from its restoration in 1910, replacing a 19th century roof. Two large corbeled brick chimneys rise from the interior of this roof. A two-story brick kitchen wing on the northeast side and a two-story Ionic portico on the southeast date from 1910. Significance: Widehall is a fine example of the mid-Georgian style, and one of the finest in Chestertown, which, prior to and just after the American Revolution, was a port of distinction, rivaling Annapolis on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay. The house was built in 1769 by Thomas Smyth as indicated in the minutes of the winter term of the Maryland Legislature of that year. It later was the home of Robert Wright, Governor of Maryland between 1806 and 1809; and of Ezekiel Chambers, State and United States Senator and Judge of the Court of Appeals. The house is architecturally noteworthy due to its unusual stair and stair hall arrangement. Also of importance is the front terrace, with the original retaining wall and piers between the street and house. Very few houses in Maryland boast a clairvoie.


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