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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Paula S. Reed, 04/2005
John Eyler Farmstead
Inventory No.: F-6-135
Date Listed: 9/13/2006
Location: 7216 Eyler Valley Flint Road , Thurmont, Frederick County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1820
Description: The John Eyler Farmstead faces south on the north side of Eylers Valley Flint Road north of Thurmont, sited on a northeast facing hillside and surrounded by the peaks of Piney Mountain, Wertenbaker Hill, and Round Top. The complex includes a c. 1820 two-story, side-passage brick farmhouse with a rear wing, a stone springhouse ruin, and a brick silo. The farmhouse is a two-story, three-bay brick construction laid in Flemish bond on the south elevation and five-course common bond on the side and rear elevations, with a stone foundation and corrugated metal roof. The principal entrance is in the easternmost bay, with a standing brick jack arch above the four-light transom. The 8-paneled entrance has a single stone step and a flagstone sill. The window openings have splayed jack arches; the first floor windows are 1/1 sash and all three second-floor windows are 6/6 and smaller than those on the first floor. There is no evidence of a porch ever having been in place across the front elevation. The rear wing is flush with the west gable end of the house, with no apparent seam in the brickwork. The gable end of the main block holds an interior chimney. The west facade of the house is four bays long. The first-story windows are 1/1 sash in the main section and 2/2 in the wing. Upper windows are smaller 6/6 in the main section and 2/2 in the wing. As the hillside falls off towards the northwest corner, the stone foundation steps down and a brick-walled basement story with two shuttered windows is exposed in the wing. A cellar entrance in the wall of the main block is infilled with brick. All of the openings have standing brick jack arches above. Two small windows are located in the west attic gable of the main block. The north elevation of the house is the gable end of the rear wing. This elevation has no windows or doors, and has a double-flue interior brick chimney. The brick construction of the northwest corner at the basement level is collapsed, exposing the interior of the room. The northeast corner has a brick wall extension eastward the full three-story height, forming the north end wall of the east elevation service porches. Although these serve the function of the traditional recessed service porches of the region, they are not true recessed porches. The porches have a shallow shed roof. The rear (northernmost) half of the porches (attached to the kitchen) are both enclosed with German siding, each with one window bay; only one has the 2/2 sash still intact. A decorative bracketed cornice runs along the eave of the enclosed section, indicating that the porches, along with the added brick end (north) wall, were constructed in the late 19th century, probably replacing an earlier porch arrangement. The open sections of the porches show doors and windows into the two house sections. The open porches have railings, the first story porch with picket-like balusters. The east elevation of the main block has no openings. On the interior, the house has a Federal side-hall and parlor floorplan, retaining nearly all of its original interior woodwork, refined in the front parlor but including what appears to be a regional feature, the inverted "T" nailing blocks in the front walls. Other rooms retain their original peg rails as well as the period molding, less refined than the formal parlor but still stylistically up-to-date. Significance: The John Eyler Farmstead is locally historically significant for its association with the development of the Catoctin Mountain community of Eylers Valley. John Eyler, son of 18th century settler Frederick Eyler, established his mountain-side farm on acreage inherited from his father in 1821. Covering more than 400 acres by 1832, the John Eyler farm produced the common grain products of the region, but more importantly exploited the mountain timber as a cash crop and later was developed for orchard production. The period of significance, c. 1820-1899, corresponds to the presumed construction date of the house through the date the property passed out of the Eyler family. The property derives additional significance for its architecture as an intact example of the adaptation of the western Maryland region vernacular farmhouse to popular national stylistic trends. The use of brick construction laid in Flemish bond and transitional Federal/Greek Revival architectural details indicate the Eyler family's desire to communicate success despite their remote location. At the same time the design of the house preserves important regional features such as the service porch and inverted "T" nailers in the front rooms. The farmstead retains several important associated structures including a relatively rare brick silo and a stone springhouse ruin.

 

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