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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Clagett House at Cool Spring Manor
Inventory No.: PG:74B-15
Date Listed: 6/3/2011
Location: 17500 Clagett Landing Road, Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1830
Description: Constructed c. 1830, the Clagett House at Cool Spring Manor stands on a knoll in open farmland above and west of the Potomac River near Clagett Landing in the vicinity of Upper Marlboro. It is a one-story house of wood frame construction, resting on a high brick basement. It has a shallow hip roof and four tall interior chimneys. Its form is highly unusual in Maryland, and resembles houses commonly found in the Deep South: roughly square, with hip roof, and with the lower level mostly below grade. The house is five bays wide and two bays deep, measuring approximately 42 by 32 feet. It has a shallow hipped roof, and rises 1 1/2-stories above grade, much of the lower level being below grade. The horizontal board siding remains, and the plain board cornice was restored and wood-shingled roof replaced. The principal elevation is the five-bay south façade. The entrance in the central bay consists of an eight-panel door with a three-pane transom and four-pane sidelights, each of which is actually a narrow 2/2 double-hung sash window over a wainscot panel. The flanking windows are 6/6 double-hung sash; they retain the original plain board surrounds with inner bead, oak sills. The basement foundation of the south façade is lighted by three 3/3 sash windows, in the first, third, and fifth bays. Structural evidence indicates that a porch originally sheltered the entire south façade. A plain shed-roof porch shelters the entire north (rear) elevation, accessible by a centered flight of seven wooden steps. Rear entrance to the upper story is through a central eight-panel door that has a three-light transom but no sidelights. The transoms of both south and north doors are hinged, and could be opened to provide cross-ventilation. Three openings pierce the basement below the porch: 3/3 double-hung sash in the first two bays, and a door in the fifth bay. This batten door is the only exterior opening into the lower story. The brick foundation rises to a height of more than five feet above grade, and is laid in 5-course American bond. The foundation wall is corbelled out, at least three stories, at the base of the foundation. Each of the east and west walls of the foundation is lighted by two 3/3 sash windows. The two windows in the east foundation are symmetrically located, while those in the west are not, providing light from both west windows into the northwesterly basement space, the kitchen. All openings have plain, narrow board surrounds, with no shutters. Four tall interior chimneys rise from the shallow hipped roof, with the brick stacks arranged slightly asymmetrically on each side of the central hallway. The two northerly chimneys are slightly closer to the ridge. The four chimneys serve fireplaces located in the interior walls of the four corner parlors. The two northerly chimneys each serve two fireplaces, while the two southerly chimneys each serve only one. All four chimneys, however, have two flues, suggesting the builder may have contemplated building an additional story. The interior of the house consists of a central passage that gives access to two spaces on each side. Both in the basement level and the living level above it. There is a modest one-run, closed-string stair at the north end of the central basement passage, which rises to the north against the east wall of the passage. It has a plain, slim, tapered, rectangular newel mitered to a plain railing, and the plain rectangular balusters are nailed into the sub rail. The northwesterly space of the basement was the original kitchen, as evidenced by the large fireplace with heavy hewn lintel. This is the largest space in the basement level, and receives light from both of the windows (which are offset, asymmetrically, in order to provide the kitchen light) in the west foundation. Patches of original brick flooring are evident. On the upper level, the mantel in the southeast parlor consists of a cast iron frame with a wide flared arch above the frieze. Inset into the fri Significance: The Clagett House at Cool Spring Manor is architecturally significant as the only known example in Prince George's County of a house type similar to early-19th-century dwellings of the Deep South. Constructed c. 1830, it is a one-story house of wood frame construction, resting on a high brick basement; it has a shallow hip roof and four tall interior chimneys. The Clagett House resembles a house form more commonly found in Alabama and Georgia in the early 19th century, which is exceedingly rare in Maryland. Despite years of neglect, the property retains integrity in its character-defining features, and has undergone restoration. The period of significance, c. 1830-1871, corresponds to the period of William Digges Clagett's ownership, during which time the property substantially achieved its historic character.


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