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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Jennifer K. Cosham, 04/10/2004
George Willard House
Inventory No.: F-2-51
Other Name(s): New Freedom Spring
Date Listed: 7/22/1993
Location: 4804 Old Middletown Road , Jefferson, Frederick County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1818, c. 1845
Description: The George Willard Farm, also known as New Freedom Spring, is a five-bay, brick, Federal-style house with a datestone bearing the year 1818. Two stories high with a gable roof, the house faces south toward the village of Jefferson in southern Frederick County. The facade is Flemish bond, and a two-story wing projects from the back. All windows have flat frames with beaded edges and 6/6 sash. Flat arches of brick are visible above the windows. Most of the first-story front windows have louvered shutters, and other windows have hinge hardware for shutters. Windows in the rear wing are smaller than those in the front section, as is often the case in the more utilitarian parts of the house. The main entrance is located in the central bay of the front elevation. A six-panel door is toped with a broad transom which extends above a pair of sidelights as well. This door would appear to be a mid 19th century modification of the original door. Doors are also located at the rear of the building, one from near the center of the north wall of the main block, at the ground story level, one at the ground floor of the wing, and one above it at the second story opening onto the porch. Another opens from the west wall ground floor of the extension. All of these doors with the exception of the front door are plain without transoms or sidelights. A c. 1920 hip-roofed porch extends across the entire first floor of the front elevation. Brick chimneys are located inside each of the gable ends. Those on the front portion of the house are quite large with several flues in each. The rear wing's chimney is slightly smaller. All three have corbeled tops. Just beneath the east end chimney is an arch-topped date tablet inscribed with the year 1818. On the interior, the house has a center passage, double pile plan with elaborately decorated Federal, and some later Greek Revival, woodwork and mantels. Once the center of a farm and tannery operation, the George Willard house now sits on an eleven-acre tract overlooking a small farm pond. Also located on the property are a tenant house, several sheds, and a garage. Significance: The George Willard House is of architectural significance in a local context. Built about 1818 in the Federal manner with Greek Revival modifications made about 1845, the George Willard House represents the rural domestic architecture of the successful farmer in the first half of the 19th century in southern Frederick County, a period of economic boom. Typically, these houses were five bay, center passage, single or double pile structures. Though not a true double pile plan when built (originally three rooms flanked the central passage), the George Willard House is one of the grander examples of this type of house. The Federal mantels are bold in execution with two having large panels of reeded decoration, a delicate staircase with turned balusters rises to the third floor in the center passage, and the decorative interior trim is primarily of the two-step complex type. Willard was wealthy from farming and tanning activities. Enhancing the architectural character are the modifications made for Willard's son about 1845, when he acquired the property. Also wealthy, the son updated the house in a conservative manner typical of the area. The Federal mantels of the first floor public rooms were replaced with boldly executed Greek ones. The back first floor room on the east side was made a part of the front room when the opening between the two was significantly widened and hung with folding doors. The original facade-long porch was replaced with a Greek influenced porch which sheltered only the entrance. The house was now stylish for the area, but still reads as a Federal house.


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