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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Michael O. Bourne, 03/1996
Buck House
Inventory No.: PG:79-28
Other Name(s): Buck-Wardrop House, Darnall's Chance
Date Listed: 4/20/1978
Location: 14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive , Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1742; Mid 19th century; 1986
Architect/Builder: Architect: James T. Wollon, 1986
Description: The Buck House, or Buck-Wardrop House, has undergone two major renovations in its history, having begun as a c. 1742 1 1/2-story Flemish bond brick house. In the mid 19th century, it was two stories in height, of stuccoed brick, with Italianate and Greek Revival stylistic elements. The walls had been extended to two stories, and stucco applied to hide the change in brick bond from Flemish to common bond. The front entrance bay was covered by a flat-roofed Doric porch, and the roofline above this bay also formed a pediment. The first floor windows were 9/6 sash, while the second floor held 6/6. The first-story windows extended to the first floor line, those flanking the porch opening into small wrought and cast iron balconies. Many of the windows had louvered shutters. The building had a hip roof with Italianate brackets. The east and west slopes held long gable-roofed dormer windows. Four chimneys pierced the interior of the roof near the ridgeline. A two-story wing was attached to the house on the east end. In 1986, the entire second floor and roof were removed, and the house was reconstructed to a more 18th century appearance. The end chimneys, which had been removed to the cellar level in the 19th century, are reconstructions. The shape of the roof is conjectural. Evidence of a gambrel roof had existed, but the upper portions were missing. Either the house had a hip-on-gambrel roof originally, or the upper portion of the gambrel was removed when the house was heightened. Window sills, which had been dropped to the level of the floor in the 19th century, were raised, and the 19th century east wing was removed in its entirety. As it now stands, the Buck House is a 1 1/2-story brick house with a hip-on-gambrel roof. Walls are laid in Flemish bond with queen closers at corners and masonry openings, and tooled joints. The foundation is English bond with a beveled water table surrounds the building, and is pierced by four elliptical arched cellar windows on the principal (south) facade. The center bay of this facade projects slightly, and is surmounted by a pediment with a small round window filled with leaded diamond-pane glass. This center bay contains the principal entrance flanked by 24-light casement windows set in segmental-arched openings with splayed jack arches. The entrance door is set in an arched opening containing a transom of wooden panels above the 8-panel door. The remaining bays on this facade contain leaded four-part windows that include paired 18-light casements below paired 9-light transoms of rectangular panes. The north facade is six bays long, with an entrance in the third bay from the east, consisting of a paneled door with a rectangular wood paneled transom. All six openings have the same tall brick arches as on the south windows, and the windows are the same four-part casements. Two flush chimneys rise from each end of the building. Between these, the wall is pierced by a single window on each floor. These casement windows with leaded diamond-shaped glass panes are surmounted by segmental brick arches. A three-brick string course divides the floors at the level of the gambrel eaves. Hip-roofed dormer windows are symmetrically arranged on the north and south elevations; these are fitted with pairs of leaded diamond-pane casement windows. Four pierce the south slope, on either side of the pediment, and five are evenly spaced on the north slope. Both the gambrel and hip slopes of the roof are covered with wood shingles. A small octagonal spire with an octagonal roof surmounted by a weathervane crests the center of the roof ridge. Significance: The property on which the Buck House stands has strong potential as an important archeological site. A 1761 inventory, a 1765 deed, and a 1787 newspaper advertisement describe many outbuildings on the property, none of which have survived. In its original form, the Buck House (named for a late owner, Harry Buck, Sr.) was one of the earliest mansion houses in 18th century Maryland. The first owner of the house was James Wardrop, a prominent Upper Marlboro merchant originally from Scotland. When Wardrop purchased the property in 1741, a house stood on the property. However, it is uncertain whether this house was replaced. Certainly the house was in its original form by 1753, as a 1760 inventory has been located describing the property. The major alterations to the property were probably carried out under the ownership of Edward Grafton W. Hall, who owned it between 1857 and 1887.

 

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