Jennifer K. Cosham, 04/26/2006
3401 Urbana Pike (MD 355) , Frederick, Frederick County
Period/Date of Construction:
Pleasantly situated, the three-story frame Stancioff House is distinctly different from other houses in this region and is readily identifiable for its great size, clerestory roof, and two-story full length galleried porch. The principal facade is nine bays in width at the first floor. Two entrance doors, occupying the third bay in from each end, have late Greek Revival-style architraves that frame multi-paned transoms and sidelights. The seven flanking windows all have 6/6 sash. On the second floor are seven windows of 6/6 sash and three doors, the latter of smaller proportions than those below and providing access to the porch gallery from various second-floor rooms. Above the lower slope of the roof are four narrow clerestory windows. This roof plan, unusual for a private residence, is believed to date from the reconstruction of the house about 1846. The front porch, slightly altered at various times, has tapered square posts with flush vertical panels. A balustrade with molded rail initially extended across the front and sides of both levels but has been removed on the first floor. On the upper slope of the front roof are three equally spaced chimneys; on the upper rear slope are two chimneys corresponding in position to the center front and west chimneys. The east end of the house has two 12/12 sash windows and one of 9/9 sash, the last possibly a later introduction. At both the second and third floor levels there are two windows of 12/8 sash each. On the west end each floor level is two bays in width; the two first-floor windows are of 6/6 sash, while those of the second and third floors frame 12/8 panes. The rear, north, elevation repeats the fenestration and first floor door placement of the principal facade, excepting that there are no second-floor doors. The floor plan of the Stancioff House reflects its history as both a school an private home. Each of the two south entrance doors open into large stair halls that extend the depth of the house. At the east end is a single large room, formerly used as a ballroom and once partitioned into double parlors. Connecting the dining room to the east hall is a short cross hall at the front. To the left of the west hall are two rooms. Most of the interior woodwork throughout the house is of a simple Greek Revival style, although there has been some replacement of doors and windows that apparently occurred about 1850-55. The only remaining outbuilding is a smokehouse which has been converted to a chapel.
The Stancioff House is of particular interest because of its unusual plan and for the fact that it is said to have originally stood on the Rapphannock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia, and moved to its present location in 1846 at the direction of the Reverend R.H. Phillips. While there is no known archival documentation to substantiate this claim, the account exists of the dismantling of the house and its subsequent transportation by barge down the Rapphannock and up the Potomac to Point of Rocks and its re-erection on its present site, as given by two nieces of Reverend Phillips who were still living in Frederick in 1949. It is known that the Reverend Phillips established a Female Seminary here between 1846 and 1850, which largely accounts for its unusual plan, but by the mid 1850s it had become a military institute for boys. However, by the end of the 1850s it apparently had resumed its role as a Female Seminary. A regimental history of the 155th Pennsylvania Volunteers, published in 1910, records the use of the house as a resting point for Union Troops marching toward the Battle of the Monocacy on September 16, 1862.