Michael F. Dwyer, 05/1973
David Craufurd House
5415 Old Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County
Period/Date of Construction:
Kingston is a 1 1/2-story, five-bay frame house facing east, with a one-story four bay kitchen wing extending to the north. The roof extends to create a porch across the entire east length of the main block. This porch, supported by six square posts on wooden piers, connected at the top by shallow semielliptical arches. The west facade has a similar porch roof, but although this roof is supported by thin posts, there is only a small brick-floored porch at the central doorway with steps to the ground on either side. The windows on the east and west facades have 6/6 sash with louvered shutters. The principal entrance consists of a double door with sidelights and a five-light transom, beneath which is a row of dentil molding. The double doors each have two oval, molded panels. The west door has a three-light transom and a single six-panel door. The east and west facades are sheathed in horizontal wide, flush boards. There are three evenly spaced 6/6 sash gable-roofed dormer windows with sawnwork bargeboards on both the east and west slopes of the roof. At each gable end stand two exterior chimneys. These gable ends are also decorated with the same sawnwork bargeboards, in a lacy scrollwork pattern, and the wall covering is board and batten. The east side of the kitchen is also board and batten, while the west side and north end have horizontal siding. The wing contains a door and three irregularly placed and sized 6/6 sash windows with no shutters on the north and south facades, and two small windows in the gable flanking the interior chimney on the north gable end. The floor plan consists of a narrow entrance hall with two rooms on either side, the east or front rooms being larger than the west rooms. In the center of this hall is a low keystoned arch springing from pilasters. The staircase rises from the west end of the hall in two runs with winders. Mantels are 19th century replacements, but an original cupboard remains in the northeast room. Only one old outbuilding remains. The 10' x 16' frame meat house, located near the west door of the kitchen wing, has a pyramid roof and wide boards on the sides. The Craufurd family cemetery is located in the woods northwest of the house.
Kingston is generally believed to be the oldest building remaining in the town of Upper Marlboro. It may have been built, at least in part before 1730, the date usually attributed to its origin. The house has always been occupied by persons prominent in the community who were well able to alter it to serve their needs. The house is also of interest for the alterations and additions made to it in the Victorian era. The board-and-batten siding and "gingerbread" details typical of this later date are purely decorative and do not alter the 18th-century lines of the house. The combination of two unrelated styles in which the features of both remain distinct rather than the later one obscuring the earlier is unusual. The house is believed to have been constructed c. 1735 by David Craufurd. A mortgage of that date provided for payments to be made to Craufurd "at the new dwelling house of the said Craufurd in Upper Marlborough Town."