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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Paula S. Reed, 02/2002
William Hagerman Farmstead
Inventory No.: WA-II-446
Other Name(s): Downey Farms, Inc.
Date Listed: 12/27/2002
Location: 7202 Dam No. 4 Road & Woburn Road, Sharpsburg, Washington County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1867
Description: The main house at the William Hagerman Farmstead is a 2 1/2-story five bay brick dwelling with a raised cellar lit by six-light half windows along the south elevation. Constructed into sloping ground, the south-facing house has less exposure at the north and west elevations. A double porch, three tiered, extends across the east gable end of the house. A brick wall, an extension of the north elevation of the house, forms a partial enclosure for the porch, finished off with windows at each story level. This type of porch recalls the more typical mid-19th century recessed double porch found on many farmhouses in mid-Maryland. The porch has a fancy railing and balustrade at the upper level and a simple three-rail system at the main level. The three-rail balustrade is replacement of the original. Also, the porch was restructured some time ago and cut back about a foot from its original depth. The front elevation of the house has five bays with a central entrance. The brick walls are laid in common bond with widely spaced header rows, resting on limestone foundations. Windows at the two main levels have segmentally arched tops and 6/6 sash, and pairs of louvered shutters with arched tops to correspond with the windows. The side and rear walls have 6/6 sash windows with flat arches. Shutters are more traditional at the lesser elevations with louvered pairs at the second story and paneled at the first story. The principal entrance, in the center bay, is elaborate with a four-panel door with heavy molding. The panels are octagonal and also appear beneath octagonal sidelights flanking the door. A segmentally arched four-light transom completes the entranceway. An unusual one-bay entrance porch embellishes the front of the house. It combines elements of Gothic Revival and Italianate styles through the use of collared columns with brackets which rise to form pointed-arched openings. Across the front is a fancy bracketed cornice with carved trim. Interior brick chimneys stand at either end of the gable roof, which has a heavy modillioned cornice. The front entrance to the main house opens into a formal stair hall with two rooms on either side, following a traditional Georgian-derived floor plan. The massive newel post supports a flattened handrail. Balusters are turned with hexagonal shafts, two per step. The balustrade system is naturally finished walnut. The stair hall features a molded plaster medallion surrounding the base for a light fixture. All doors in the hallway, and throughout the main rooms of the house, have four panels with cast iron patent locks with ceramic knobs. Heavily molded architraves trim the doorways. The mantel in the northwest room is Italianate with an arched opening to the firebox, while that in the southwest room is more Greek Revival in character with dominant wide pilasters and a bi-level frieze with a curved mantel shelf. Also on the property are a brick kitchen/dwelling, a stone root cellar, frame wash house and sheds, ruins of a brick end bank barn, ruins of a blacksmith shop, wagon shed, chicken coops, and a hog pen. An unusual feature of the complex is a long barrel-vaulted space beneath the barn ramp. The brick-lined arched space had a door at each end and must have been used for storing orchard products. The landscape is mostly open meadowland. Significance: The William Hagerman Farmstead is significant for its architecture, as an exceptionally intact example of an 1860s vernacular interpretation of the Italianate architectural style. Few of the farmhouse's original architectural features, particularly the elaborate front entrance porch, remain completely intact. The gable-end double porch with its rear brick enclosure is an unusual adaptation of the more common double recessed porch, a vernacular feature found on many mid-19th century farmhouses in the mid-Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania region. Interior details, including a plaster ceiling medallion, all contribute to the remarkable retention of the builder's original intent. The service kitchen in the cellar combined with the small out-kitchen/secondary dwelling immediately east of the main house and the compliment of agricultural and domestic buildings, complete the image of the upper class rural lifestyle that the refinements of the house imply.


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