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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Jennifer K. Cosham, 04/26/2006
Harris Farm
Inventory No.: F-8-133
Other Name(s): Walkersville Heritage Farm Park
Date Listed: 7/29/1994
Location: 9224 Devilbiss Bridge Road , Walkersville, Frederick County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1855
Description: The Harris Farm is a three-story house, built in 1855, with a five-bay main block and a long perpendicular three-story rear wing containing a recessed double porch. Both the interior and exterior detailing is predominantly late Greek Revival, although a few Italianate elements are present. The front facade of the building is laid in stretcher bond, and the remaining walls are variant ratios of American common bond, all resting on a cut limestone foundation. Flush chimneys rise from either gable end and from the end of the rear wing. An interior chimney rises from about halfway down the rear wing. All first and second story windows are 6/6 sash and have shutter pintels. The third story frieze windows are a variety of casement and double-hung sashes. The roof is covered with standing seam tin, and tapered rakeboards are located at each gable end; however, the overhanging cornice is covered with modern siding. Three-light cellar windows, with stone sills and metal horizontal bars, are located on each facade. The principal facade of the house faces south. It is symmetrical, with a central double door sheltered by a one-story, one-bay, flat-roofed porch with chamfered square posts and balustrade, which provides a balcony for the central door on the second floor. Windows on both levels have Italianate projecting lintels consisting of a fillet, ovolo, and bead. The main entrance is embellished with late Greek Revival trim. The door is framed with a paneled soffit and jamb, flaking sidelights of three lights over panels, and an eight-light transom. The paneled double door each have three recessed fields with applied molding. The second-floor door is similar, but the transom is shorter in height and capped by a course of dentils. The west elevation is six bays long, the two southern bays being the gable end of the main block. The third bay from the south holds a door with 4-light transom sheltered by a one-story, one-bay porch with chamfered square posts and balustrade. The gable end of the service wing faces north. The first story is now partially obstructed by a later woodshed that connects the service wing to a detached kitchen/smokehouse. The east side of the rear wing is five bays long, with an entrance with three-light transom in the north bay. The three southern bays of the wing are recessed on two floors, with a frame portion above. The second floor of the recessed porch also holds a door with a three-light transom in the center bay of the facade. The interior of the house is a center-passage, single-pile plan with rear perpendicular wing of two rooms. Most architectural elements in the house are late Greek Revival, with a few examples of early Victorian molding interspersed. Domestic outbuildings on the property include a brick, one-story combination smoke house and kitchen with a loft above, a vertical-sided wooden well house, and a partially collapsed stone building. The agricultural complex consists of a bank barn with an ornamental ventilator pattern worked into the brick ends, and an attached granary; a second frame barn that shares an animal yard with the bank barn; a row of frame outbuildings including a converted garage, a workshop, and a chicken house; a drive-through double corn crib; and a frame pig pen with modern concrete stalls dated 1914. The 20th century buildings consist of a frame poultry house, a dairy barn with milk house and two silos, and an octagonal chicken coop. A lime kiln remains on the edge of the property. Significance: The Harris Farm complex is significant as an excellent example of rural domestic and agricultural architecture in Frederick County. It is also representative of agricultural development in Frederick County from the mid 19th century through the beginning of World War II. The house embodies distinctive characteristics of rural farmhouses in the mid 19th century as found in the region. These buildings are generally brick, Greek Revival houses, and often incorporate a rear wing. The main block, with a perpendicular rear wing containing a recessed double porch, can be seen in many farmhouses in northern and central Maryland. The addition of the third full story, however, allows the house to stand out among others of the same type. Several three-story houses do exist in the area, but the third floor is rarely carried into the wing. Other distinctive characteristics of the house are its size and proportions, inclusion of frieze windows, recessed double porch, and symmetrical main facade. The original interior trim and mantels, baseboards, doors, and curving open-string staircase, all Greek Revival, survive with few changes. These characteristics clearly illustrate the late Greek Revival style with the inclusion of a few Victorian elements. Few other houses in the region retain the high degree of integrity. The Harris farm also stands as a significant and intact collection of domestic and agricultural outbuildings. The farm is typical of large, mid-19th century, grain and livestock farms in Frederick County. Original outbuildings, such as the brick bank barn, with ventilator pattern, and the second equipment barn, illustrate the diversity of farm life during the 1850s and 1860s. The addition of other agricultural and domestic outbuildings represent the increased prosperity of farming in the region during the last years of the century. At the beginning of the 20th century, Frederick County began to focus on dairy farming. Many farms altered existing barns to accommodate dairying activities. At the Harris Farm, the dairy barn and milk house mark a transition in the dairying industry as health and sanitary regulations took effect. This barn, located adjacent to the original bank barn and granary, are pivotal in understanding the changes in agriculture throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Together with the secondary structures, they represent the agricultural development of the county to the start of World War II. Few other complexes in the Walkersville region remain with such a complete set of outbuildings. As it stands, this complex clearly exemplifies late-19th and early-20th century farm life in Frederick County.


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