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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Elmwood
Inventory No.: WA-I-018
Other Name(s): Elmwood Farm; Kendle Farm
Date Listed: 12/26/2012
Location: 16311 Kendle Road (formerly 9813 Hippity Hop Lane), Williamsport, Washington County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1855, c. 1885
Architect/Builder: Carpenter: John Corby
Description: Elmwood farmstead stands on a six-acre tract, a remnant of the larger Elmwood Farm situated on the south side of Kendle Road, northeast of Williamsport in Washington County. The nominated area comprises an 1855 two-story, four-bay, gable-roofed, T-shaped brick house, plus a grouping of buildings dating from the mid-19th through the mid-20th century, typical of Washington County farming operations. The vernacular Greek Revival style-influenced main house, according to written documentation in the form of a recorded mechanic's lien, dates from 1855. Italianate-style modifications came a generation later, c. 1885. The house is four bays wide on the north façade, three bays in the wide east and west gable ends, and a service wing projects to the rear. The house rests on a limestone foundation, with brick walls laid in common bond and brick jack arches over the openings. The roof is covered with standing-seam metal, with brick chimneys located inside each gable end. The front entrance is located in the second bay from the east end on the north façade. A wide transom and sidelights surround the six-panel door. The current one-bay entrance porch is the third one for the house. It replaced an Italianate hip-roofed porch that extended across the length of the front elevation. This porch had carved brackets, square collared posts with decorative brackets and turned dropped pendants Turned balusters and railing formed the enclosure. The Italianate porch in turn had replaced an original entrance porch of unknown size and appearance. The larger Italianate porch terminated at the east end with a retaining wall. All windows except for the first-story front openings and the east and west attic gable windows have 6/6 light sash. The second story front windows retain pairs of fixed-louvered wooden shutters. All windows retain shutter hardware. The first story front windows were modified in the late 19th century. They were lengthened and the sash replaced with longer 2/2 light sash with a radial arch over the upper panes. On the interior, the house is divided by an entrance and stair passage. To the west is a large double parlor and to the east are two smaller rooms made from one, with an added 20th-century partition to create a bathroom. At the south end of the passageway is a large room, originally a dining room, which opens into the two west parlors, the rear kitchen and east rear porch, and into the first-story bath. The southernmost room at the first-story level is the kitchen, with entrances onto the east and west porches and a back stairway leading to the room above, which presumably housed farm workers or servants. The kitchen also has a built-in pantry in the southeast corner. The second floor plan is similar, with two bedrooms over the first-story double parlor. The cellar has several rooms with windows and entrances on the east side. A large kitchen with service fireplace is located below the main-level kitchen. This is the only fireplace in the house. Throughout, the house retains original woodwork and hardware, expert original grain painting, and some other original paint schemes. In the entrance and stair passage, the staircase terminates with an elaborately turned walnut newel post supporting a broad handrail and turned balusters. The surfaces of doors facing into the passageway are grain painted to resemble burl mahogany. Door surrounds consist of flat trim with plain corner blocks. Doors facing into the northwest and southwest parlors are grain painted to resemble maple. A set of wide double doors between the two parlors also display maple grain painting. Original door hardware consists of carpenter-type locks with ceramic knobs. The brass circular plate identifies Russell Erwin & Company Manufacturers. This company was established in New Britain, Connecticut in 1846. Other hardware is cast iron, dating from the later 19th century. The farmstead includes ten contributing buildings and structures, dominated by the house, a third- Significance: The Elmwood building complex is locally significant as an intact collection of domestic and agricultural buildings in Washington County, Maryland. The Elmwood building complex includes a fine example of a mid-19th-century gentleman's farmhouse. Built in 1855 by James M. Downey, a rising canal merchant and money-lender, the large Elmwood mansion house is an elegant representation of the still-popular Greek Revival architectural style. Later changes, particularly the elongated arched windows across the first floor front elevation, represent an attempt to update the house during the later Victorian period. The "Mechanics Lien" recorded by carpenter John Corby against James M. Downey, dated 1855, provides a detailed record of the character defining features of the house from the date of its construction, most of which remain intact. The brick smokehouse located near the mansion is equally intact and representative of the mid-19th century period, while the garage is a typical 20th century addition to the domestic complex. Agricultural buildings within the Elmwood complex include the c. 1935 concrete block milk house near the house, 3rd quarter of the 19th century bank barn, 1960 milking parlor, frame hog barn, early-20th century frame milking barn, and concrete stave silo. This grouping is representative of the agricultural developments through the first half of the 20th century in Washington County. The bank barn was constructed while the traditional grain-dominated farm economy was still active in Maryland, when a large barn with spaces dedicated to threshing and grain storage was a requirement. Farms still maintained small milking herds of eight to ten animals, easily accommodated in the lower stalls of the barn. The additional animal barns and silo signal the change in feed storage and increasing livestock as dairy production became the focus on the farm. The 1960 milking parlor documents the strict federal sanitation rules that required a building dedicated to milking and milk storage separated from the living areas of the livestock.

 

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