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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Paula S. Reed, 11/2001
Garden Hill
Inventory No.: WA-I-454
Other Name(s): Robert Cushen House
Date Listed: 12/27/2002
Location: 1251 Frederick Street (Alt. US 40) , Hagerstown, Washington County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1865
Description: Garden Hill, the Robert Cushen farmstead, is located on a knoll, just west of US Alt. 40, the National Pike, and immediately northwest of the town of Funkstown. The house faces east, overlooking the National Road, a few hundred feet back from the road. The c. 1865 two-story five-bay brick dwelling has a formal facade with a central entrance. Although this follows a traditional form developed during the Georgian period and retained in the region through the 19th century, the detailing is Greek Revival in style with some Gothic Revival influence in interior trim. The house is constructed of five-course common bond. Windows have 6/6 sash. At the front elevation, each has a pair of louvered shutters, but these are not original. The central entrance has a broad transom and sidelights, now replaced with single panes. Decorative Italianate brackets separating the sections of the transom are original. A one-bay entrance porch supported by square posts shelters the door. The porch appears to be a replacement, but follows the form and type of the original. The roof of the house is slate and interior brick chimneys rise from either gable end. The house is a wide two bays deep with windows at both floor levels and small attic windows flanking the chimneys. The interior of the house is remarkably intact with original floors, trim, hardware, and woodwork. The front entrance opens onto a stair and entrance hall with two rooms arranged formally on either side. At the second floor the floor plan is the same with an additional small room in the space at the front of the hallway, a frequent variation of the four over four plan. The staircase has a large turned newel post with turned balusters beneath a flattened handrail. Window and door architraves have Grecian Ogee molding, and in the kitchen, simple flat trim with plain corner blocks. The rear parlor fireplace retains its mantel with Tudor-arched panel and side pilasters. The firebox is painted black, a typical 19th century treatment. The dining room mantel is identical to that in the parlor, but the firebox has received a replacement brick lining. A cupboard is constructed to the right or west of the fireplace. The kitchen has a larger utilitarian fireplace with a mantel with plain pilasters and a mantel shelf with a band of molding beneath. The second floor front rooms have mantels like those below. The small front room in the center of the second floor was converted to a bathroom c. 1926, according to old newspapers under the later flooring. Hardware consists of cast iron locks with ceramic knobs. The locks have patent dated in the 1860s. Along the south side of the house is a one-story porch, now enclosed, which connects the house to a summer kitchen. This small gable-front brick outbuilding has a flush chimney in its west gable end. A well with its GEM pump intact is located at the east end of the house convenient to the kitchen door and the summer kitchen. Significance: Garden Hill is significant as a remarkably intact example of a mid-19th century Greek Revival styled rural farmhouse. The house was constructed c. 1865 following the purchase of the 70-acre property by Robert H. Cushen in 1861. Cushen operated a successful fruit and vegetable production and market business from this small farm on the hill above Funkstown. His success was reflected in the elegant house he constructed, sited on the crest of a hill and sheltered from the busy National Pike. The Garden Hill house and business remained in the Cushen family for approximately 100 years, the house and summer kitchen changing little since their original construction. Nearby, the stone foundation of a bank barn, its frame superstructure no longer standing, has been re-roofed and now serves as a horse shed. Although close to the development of southeastern Hagerstown, this farmstead retains its historic setting with landscaped lawn and open agricultural land.


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