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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Paula S. Reed,
Rich Mountain
Inventory No.: F-4-9
Other Name(s): Sines Farm; Holter Farm; Home Farm
Date Listed: 12/28/2005
Location: 6434 S. Clifton Road , Frederick, Frederick County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1810, c. 1870
Description: Set on the edge of a bowl-like crease in Catoctin Mountain just below Braddock Heights, Rich Mountain occupies a 10-acre tract which remains from the original farm. The complex consists of a stone dwelling dating from 1810-1820 with a one-story kitchen wing, a frame Pennsylvania-style forebay bank barn from the mid-to-late 19th century, a hog barn, wagon shed/corn crib, equipment shed, and chicken coop. Facing east, the two-story, five-bay stone dwelling has a central entrance and a one-story, two-bay kitchen wing addition attached to the north gable end. Behind the house, the land slopes downward leaving a walk-out cellar on the west side of the house. A nailing course just under the upper story windows at the back facade, extending nearly the length of the back wall, marks the roof attachment location of a porch that once sheltered the entrances at the cellar and main story levels. The roofing material is currently standing seam metal, installed in the 1970s. Roughly coursed local stone forms the walls of the house. Stone chimneys with corbeled tops extend from inside each gable end of the building. A plastered date tablet with an arched top lined with brick is set into the south chimney at the peak of the gable. Unfortunately, an inscription is not discernable. There is no particular decorative masonry associated with the exterior of the building, although above most of the windows are either two flat stones that meet near the middle of the span, or a single flat stone extending across the opening. Windows have wide mortised and tenoned frames secured with pegs at the corners. Only at the front facade have they been replaced, probably around 1870, with 2/2 sash windows. The rear facade and the back half of the south side wall retain the original 9/6 sash windows. Shutter hardware remains. At the front facade, replacement louvered shutters are in place. Three added gable-roofed dormers extend from the east face of the roof. Original attic windows have 4/2-light sash. The main entrance is in the central bay of the front facade. The door has six low-relief molded panels hung with deep paneled jambs with matching molding. Above the door is a diamond-pane transom, which may be a later alteration from the 1860s or 1870s. A secondary front entrance opens into the kitchen wing. It also has a six-panel door hung beneath a transom with five rectangular lights. At the west facade are two entrances from the cellar in the central and south bays, and another at the main level which would have opened onto the high porch across the back of the house. The main level entrance had six molded panels, but no transom. Another rear entrance leads into the lower level of the kitchen. The lower-level entrances have battened doors. The front door opens into a central stair and entrance passage, with a back door at the rear of the space. An unusual feature of this and other first floor rooms in the house is the use of oak flooring, typically associated with 18th century construction and fairly rare in Frederick County. The house retains much of its original woodwork. The second floor has a similar floorplan, except that the area north of the passageway is divided into two rooms. Attached to the north end wall of the house is a one-story kitchen, constructed with stone and covered with stucco. A deeply recessed work porch extends across the front, and the rear facade, because of the topography, has an exposed cellar story. The interior contains one room with a large service fireplace in the north end, two 9/6 sash windows in the east and west walls, and a door to the front work porch. In the southeast corner an enclosed stair leads to an attic. The kitchen wing appears to be an addition to the main part of the house and probably dates from a short time after initial construction. According to the property owners, the house was altered in the late 19th or early 20th century with the application of German siding across the front facade. Appro Significance: Rich Mountain is significant for its architecture as a representative example of the 19th century vernacular building traditions of west-central Maryland. The stone house, said by local tradition to have been built by mason James John Wells, is unusually elegant for its rural mountainside location. It combines Federal style elements of symmetry and delicate moldings with such regionally typical vernacular features as stone construction, the arched date stone in the gable and the attached one-story kitchen with recessed porch. The beaded wooden nailers, shaped like an inverted "T", on the interior front walls are an unusual feature. Such nailers are found in a few other masonry houses in the area, and may be associated with a single builder. The barn is a well-maintained "Pennsylvania Standard" bank barn. The barn, hog barn, and wagon sheds are typical of 19th century agricultural buildings in the region. The barn, still in use, is in good condition and its relatively uncommon closed-end forebay adds to its architectural interest. The period of significance, c. 1810-1906, covers the time from the approximate construction of the stone house through the sale of the farm by Mahala Holter to the Braddock Heights Development Company, after which time the land was subdivided.


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