Skip to Main Content

Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Christopher Weeks, 04/1990
Heighe House
Inventory No.: HA-1770
Date Listed: 11/1/1990
Location: Southampton Road , Bel Air, Harford County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1928-1953
Architect/Builder: Architect: John M. Donn
Description: The Heighe House complex, located on a steeply sloping 17-acre site along Bynum Run, consists of a Colonial Revival, 2 1/2-story stone main house built on and incorporating the stone foundations of the c. 1745 Moores Mill; a 1 1/2-story frame chauffeur's cottage; garage; and a 1 1/2-story stone and frame guest house. The main house is a relaxed Colonial Revival structure of stone and frame. Built into a slope, it is 2 1/2 stories on its stone (south) entrance, and 3 1/2 stories tall on the stone and frame north façade toward the stream. It has a three-bay central section flanked by an enclosed one-story frame and glass porch on the west and a two-story, stone and frame library wing to the east. The main section and library wing are topped by steeply sloping slate-covered gable roofs with slates carefully calibrated and laid so that their size diminishes as they ascend toward the roof’s crest. All windows in main and library wings have 6/6 panes and massive eye-catching stone lintels, and are flanked by their original shutters. The massive and paneled entrance door is sheltered by a one-story one-bay porch with paneled end walls and with one of the old Moores Mill millstones incorporated into its floor. The west façade is dominated by the enclosed porch, reached from the living room by French doors, and by a massive off-center stone chimney. The north façade includes a terrace reached by three French doors framed by paneled shutters. The east façade is dominated by a massive stone chimney whose five flues are indicated by clearly visible chimney pots. Significance: The Heighe House, a country estate developed in 1928, is significant for its architectural character and for association with its creator, Anne McElderry Heighe (d. 1953), a woman widely regarded as the "first lady of Maryland racing" who played a key role in the development of the Maryland thoroughbred horse industry by her efforts at her own farm and by inducing breeders of international renown to locate in the state. The house, with its complementary guest house and chauffeur's cottage, and its contemporaneously laid out grounds, now at full maturity, remain in virtually unchanged condition. They stand as the earliest and best Harford County example of a 20th century "American Country House." This is an informal manner of building instantly distinguishable from the previous generation's gilded age mansions, a manner of building that still dominates the horse country north of Baltimore. "The American Country House" was much analyzed at the time by critics and architects such as Fiske Kimball in national periodicals such as Architectural Record and Architectural Forum in the years between the two world wars.


Return to the National Register Search page