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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Kerri Culhane, 06/1999
Bowman House
Inventory No.: WA-II-478
Date Listed: 4/29/1977
Location: 323 N. Main Street (Alt. US 40), Boonsboro, Washington County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1826-1840
Description: The Bowman House is a modest three-bay, two-story log structure built over an L-shaped plan. The front door is positioned off-center to the right on the west elevation. A wing attached to the back or east elevation is one story in height. Both sections of the house are set just above grade level on native limestone foundations with no basement. The Bowman House is typical of log houses built in Western Maryland during the first half of the 19th century. A hewed V-notch construction detail was used at the exterior corners. All interior and exterior framing is wood. German siding presently covers the exterior of the structure. All of the windows on the first floor originally were 6/6 light sash with louvered wood shutters. One original sash remains in each elevation of the first floor on the south, east, and west sides. The original sliding windows in the east elevation on the second floor were made from 6/6, double-hung window units set on the side. There are two interior brick chimneys. A tin roofing material presently covers the gable roof. An early 20th century porch covers the first floor of the front elevation. Significance: The Bowman House is the headquarters of the Boonsboro Historical Society. Architecturally, the building is typical of log dwellings built in Western Maryland during the first half of the 19th century. In 1868, John Bowman established the "Boonsboro Pottery" at this location. He advertised that he manufactured all kinds of earthenware. John was the son of Emmanual Bowman, who was listed as a potter in Benevola, Maryland, in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses. John and his brother David were listed as potter's apprentices to their father in the 1860 census. David was mentioned again in the 1870 census. The 1877 Lake, Griffing & Stevenson Atlas of Washington County lists John E. Bowman as a patron of the Atlas. A map of the town indicates that there were two buildings on the Bowman property. One was a dwelling, and the other could have been a workshop. The building where the pottery was made and the kiln for firing were probably located to the south or east of the existing house. The following description was given in the atlas under "Boonsboro Business References": "John E. Bowman, proprietor of Boonsboro pottery. Manufacturer of all kinds of earthenware. Main Street." The potter as a craftsman played a necessary role in most 19th century communities, furnishing local households with utilitarian as well as decorative containers. By 1908, the once flourishing potteries in the nearby Shenandoah Valley had all closed, due to competition from steam-powered potteries and the introduction of glass containers. John Bowman probably ceased working and closed his business about the same time as the potteries located in the Valley.


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