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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Kenneth M. Short, 02/2003
Inventory No.: HO-400
Date Listed: 12/23/2004
Location: 3621 MacAlpine Road , Ellicott City, Howard County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1868
Description: MacAlpine is a post-Civil War country house located approximately 1 3/4 miles west of Ellicott City in Howard County, Maryland. The main block of the house dates to c. 1868 and faces west towards the road on generally level land that drops off sharply to the northeast, east, and southeast, exposing the rubble stone foundation. The house is a 2 1/2-story, three-bay by two-bay frame structure clad in novelty siding with corner boards, with a mansard roof covered with wood shingles. When built, the house had a low hip roof. There is a two-bay, two-story, gable-roofed hyphen on the south side, linking the main block with a two-story gable-roofed wing that is one bay wide by three bays deep. Standing seam metal covers the roof of the hyphen and wing. The west elevation of the main block has center double doors on the first story with two panels each. Flanking the entrance are 6/6 sash windows with louvered shutters. A three-bay one-story hip-roofed porch is supported by chamfered posts. A porte cochere, also with a hip roof, projects to the west from the center bay of the porch. The second story holds three 6/6 sash windows with louvered shutters. The mansard roof has diamond-pattern shingles at the top and bottom, clipped butts in the center, and square butts separating the decorative courses. Three dormer windows project from the mansard roof on this elevation. The central dormer has paired, semicircular-arched 1/1 sash windows with a pediment with returns on the front and a jig-sawn bracket on each side. The end bay dormers have one semicircular 2/2 sash window with the same pediment. There is a brick chimney with a corbeled cap over the north bay. The north elevation of the main block is dominated by two two-story polygonal bay windows, all with louvered shutters. The foundation wall supports the bay windows via three-sided stone projections. The bay windows consist of 4/4 sash windows, each above a recessed wooden panel. The two dormers on the roof on this elevation match the end dormers on the west elevation. The south or rear facade is three bays wide, with a 6/6 sash window in each bay on each floor. However, the central and south bays were apparently originally doorways or jib windows. Beneath the sill of each window is a plywood infill with applied panel molds. The shutters for these two windows reach all the way to the bottom of this infill. On the second floor, the central and north bays have ordinary 6/6 sash windows with paneled shutters, but the south bay holds a French window with a two-light transom. Most likely, a two-story porch once covered this wall, accessed by two doors on the first floor and one on the second. Dormers on this side of the roof match those on the west. The hyphen to the south has a gable roof, and the wing has a gable roof perpendicular to that of the hyphen. The hyphen is two bays wide, and the wing is one bay wide by three bays long. All windows on the west facade are 6/6 sash with louvered shutters. The first story of the hyphen is sheltered by a hip-roofed porch, which slopes toward the wing on the south, indicating its later construction. The north bay holds a door with a three-light transom. The east and west attic gables of the wing each hold a lunette with radiating muntins within a wide frame surmounted by a keystone-shaped panel. The south facade of the wing is three bays wide and two stories high, with 6/6 sash windows and a central first-floor transomed entrance accessed by a new deck. On the interior, the first story has a stair hall in the southwest corner, a room in the northwest corner, and a short passage from the stair hall to two rooms in the northeast and southeast corners. A three-run stair ascends to the south on the west wall. It has a large, turned, tapered newel, turned balusters, and a molded handrail. The northwest room has an Adamesque plaster ceiling medallion and a white marble mantel. The northeast room also has a ceiling medallion, and has a marb Significance: MacAlpine is significant as a well preserved example of a post-bellum country house of the Howard County gentry. The house is architecturally significant in that it embodies the distinctive characteristics of its time and period. Country estates once surrounded Ellicott City, but only a few have survived post-World War II development pressures. MacAlpine survives with few changes, and retains a number of the features of comfort that were developed in city houses before the Civil War and were introduced into country houses after the war, such as devices intended to increase fireplace efficiency and heat circulation, and a system of bells to call servants. MacAlpine thus illustrates the evolution of the country house through the last third of the 19th century and into the early 20th. MacAlpine was built c. 1868 as the home of James MacKubin, an Anne Arundel County attorney. The house stayed in the MacKubin family until 1946.


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