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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Jennifer K. Cosham, 12/28/2005
Jacob Highbarger House
Inventory No.: WA-II-514
Other Name(s): Hays-Highbarger-Roulette House
Date Listed: 12/27/2002
Location: 201 W. Main Street (MD 34), Sharpsburg, Washington County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1832
Description: The Jacob Highbarger House stands on the corner of West Main and Hall Streets in Sharpsburg. Facing south onto West Main Street at this prominent corner location, the three-bay limestone dwelling is two stories high, with a one-story exposed corner post log workshop addition attached to the west gable end. An interior brick chimney rises from the east gable end of the roof. The principal entrance is in the west bay of the north facade, beneath a three-light transom. Although the door itself was replaced c. 1940, the original door remains on the premises in storage. An early-20th century Colonial Revival hip-roofed porch with square posts extends across the front of the house. The current posts replace round Ionic columns. Windows at the front elevation and second story east end wall have 9/6 sash. A 2/2 sash window was added to the first story of the east end in the early 1900s. The ground slopes upwards immediately behind the house, and only the second story is exposed on the north elevation. The hillside was cut back to allow a small 2/2 sash window at the first floor on the east side of the north wall. Another very small window was added in the west end wall against the dug-out slope in the 1930s. At the upper level of the north elevation, there is a 2/2 sash window at the east end. At the west end of the north elevation is a frame addition which houses a bathroom. It was originally an open porch which gave access from the second floor to the rear yard. The log addition is a one-story three-bay structure on a raised stone foundation. Three log walls show that this is an addition to the stone house, and the west wall of the stone house, to which it was attached has finish pointing indicating that the wall was exposed for a time prior to the construction of the log addition. The log section is unusual in that the log framing is exposed and always has been, and that it is an example of corner post log construction. This is an unusual form of log construction which is sort of a hybrid between braced frame and traditional corner-notched log technology. The log exterior walls are whitewashed, but their construction is clearly visible. The basic framework consists of a sill, corner posts, a plate, and diagonal braces form mid height of the posts to the sill. These members are mortised, tenoned, and pegged into place. Horizontal logs run between the posts and are set into trough mortises in the posts. The limestone foundation has two small windows just above the sidewalk at the front elevation. The wing has a wide entrance and large 6/6 sash windows. The interior of the stone section consists of an entrance and stair hall and two rooms at the first floor. The front door opens into the passageway, a narrow space with a door to the east into the parlor and one to the west into the log addition. Steps lead up to the door into the log section because of differing floor levels. John Roulette, owner at the time, cut through the stone wall between the house and the log shop in the early 20th century when the log section was converted to a summer ktichen. Prior to that time there was no direct access from the stone house to the log addition. The stairway has simple chamfered square newel posts with a round handrail and rectangular balusters. At the attic level, these elements retain their original dove gray paint. A chairrail and corner cupboard survive in the parlor. The northeast room, originally a kitchen, retains its simple mantel with molded architrave and narrow molded mantel shelf. A rare survival is the pair of paneled fireplace doors which would have been used to close off the fireplace when not in use. In the early 20th century, this room was converted to a dining room and a small Pullman winter kitchen was constructed into the northwest corner of the room behind the staircase. The west wall window was then added in the 1930s. The second floor southeast room has a simple Greek Revival mantel. Significance: The Jacob Highbarger House is significant as an intact example of Greek Revival-influenced vernacular stone construction, a late use of limestone architecture in central Maryland, and a log workshop addition that is a rare exposed example of corner post log construction. Built c. 1832 under the ownership of Jacob Highbarger, a "house carpenter," the stone section of the building includes simplified Greek Revival architectural elements such as the two mantelpieces and stair rail. Although the town of Sharpsburg is rich with late-18th and early-19th century vernacular stone buildings, the Jacob Highbarger House is unusual in that it represents the later period of stone construction. In the Cumberland Valley section of central Maryland, the use of limestone as a construction material spans the period from approximately 1760-1840. Probably constructed as the carpenter's workshop and storage warehouse, the log addition is an unusual example of corner-post log construction combining horizontal log walls with vertical corner posts and diagonal braces.

 

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