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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Howard Lodge
Inventory No.: HO-13
Date Listed: 10/9/2012
Location: 12301 Howard Lodge Drive, Sykesville, Howard County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1750
Description: Howard Lodge consists of a mid-18th-century brick house, a stone dairy, a stone smokehouse, stone springhouse ruins, a CMU garage, and a barn rebuilt on an old stone foundation. The house and stone outbuildings sit on a generally flat site, and the ground slopes down to the east and southeast, where the barn foundation is located. The house is an exceptionally large 2 1/2-story, five-bay by two-bay building with Flemish bond, all-header bond, and English bond. There is a gable roof with an east-west ridge and wood shingles, with brick chimneys rising flush from the east and west gable ends. There is a water table and a belt course on all four elevations. The five-bay principal façade faces south, with a central entrance with a ten-panel door with small panels at the top, in the center, and at the bottom. The tall top panels and the center stile have been cut out for a singe light. Flanking this door are 6/9 sash windows which retain shutter dogs, although no actual shutters remain. All first-story openings are surmounted by brick jack arches. Below the belt course which underlies the second-story windows, this façade and water table are laid in Flemish bond on the south, north, and east elevations. Above the belt course is all-header bond. The five 6/6 sash windows on the second story have short brick arches but no shutter dogs. Flanking the center window on each side is a round-arched recessed panel that is parged. There is a wood cornice with narrow modillions. The gable roof features three gabled dormers on this slope, the center being paired 4/4 sash, with a 6/6 sash window in each end dormer. The east elevation basement is pierced by a 6-slight sash window in the south bay with a straight jack arch, and a doorway in the north bay. The east and west elevations are both two wide bays in width, with 6/9 windows on the first floor, and 6/6 windows in the 2nd and attic storeys. The attic windows have plain wooden lintels. On the north façade, the west bay is covered by a two-story addition that is two bays long by one bay wide. The first story of this addition is rubble stone, and the second story has frame with weather-boards, and brick on the north gable end. There is a gable roof with standing-seam metal and a north-south ridge, with an exterior chimney on the north gable end. The remainder of the north elevation contains 6/9 windows in the east-center and both west bays, with a central Dutch door with six lights over three panels on the top and a cross-buck on the bottom half. The second story is pierced by two windows, one in the center and one in the west bay. The west elevation matches the east apart from the basement level, which contains a single window in the south bay. On the interior, the first story has a center-passage double-pile plan with the passage divided in two. This is a straight-run stair that, ascends to the north on the east wall, to a landing, and then turns to the east. This wall is paneled, and there is a wood cornice on three walls. The house has corner fireplaces, many with early-19th-centuy mantels, and two original corner cupboards. The unusual and massive roof structure is still mostly exposed and has purlins running east-west that are supported by five posts under each purlin. There are up-braces on the east and west sides of the posts and there are down-braces on the south side of the south posts and the north side of the north posts. The north and south purlins are connected by collar beams. Significance: Howard Lodge was constructed in the mid 18th century for Edward Dorsey, one of the sons of John Dorsey. The land was divided in 1750, the same date as Edward Dorsey's marriage to Betty Gillis. The date of construction is not known, but a date from the 1750s is usually assumed, and this seems reasonable given the physical details of the house; certainly it was standing by the sometime in the 1760s. Howard Lodge is significant for its architecture, as one of the earliest surviving plantation houses in Howard County, distinguished among its contemporaries by its size, floor plan, and the elaboration of its brickwork and interior finishes. The house's use of wood paneled walls and dentil cornices are as good as any dwelling surviving in the county from the 18th century. Howard Lodge, Waverly, and Belmont represent the earliest instances of the center-passage plan in Howard County, though each has its own variation. At Howard Lodge, the double pile enabled the builder to include a fifth room at the back of the passage on the first story; this is the only known example in Howard County of this plan variation, and its function is imperfectly understood. The house is built with a combination of Flemish Bond, English Bond, and, on the second story of the south façade, header bond. Header bond seems to have been introduced to the region by Gov. Thomas Bladen in the 1740s at the house in Annapolis that was to become known as "Bladen's Folly." It is most common in and around Annapolis and Chestertown, with most examples dating to the 1750s and 1760s. Howard Lodge also has a moulded water table and a belt course that is odd since it is only a single course high and consists of moulded water table bricks. The façade also contains two round-arched shallow recesses flanking the center window, and they probably held date plaques that have not survived. A similar feature can be seen flanking the front door of Belmont, Caleb Dorsey of Caleb's house near Elkridge; there, the rectangular panels survive, and bear the date 1738. The stone kitchen addition and stone outbuildings date from the second quarter of the 19th century, and reflect a local trend toward improvements during that period.


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