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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Preservation Howard County, 01/2001
Inventory No.: HO-96
Other Name(s): Twiford
Date Listed: 4/25/1978
Location: Furrow Avenue , Ellicott City, Howard County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1858
Architect/Builder: Architect: Nathan Gibson Starkweather
Description: Elmonte (Twiford) is a 2 1/2-story country house, built of random ashlar granite in the Italian villa style, and is thought to have been completed in 1858. The original principal facade is on the south, facing the county road. However, the drive now goes to the rear, thus making the northern entrance the principal one. Identical with that on the south, this entrance has rectangular double doors with a large round-headed glazed transom and sidelights which are continuous over the transom. There is a lower, two-story kitchen wing to the northeast which has a secondary stair connecting it to all levels of the main house. Thus, a visitor first saw a symmetrical south facade and the irregular west elevation with its bay window. No elevation of Elmonte, except the principal facade of the main house, is symmetrical; nor is the plan. On the south there are three bays with a central gable penetrating the hipped roof which is now covered with asphalt shingles. This third story central gable with a circular window is present in all four elevations. The cupola duplicates the roof from below and has a Palladian window in each face which extends upward into its small gable. The second floor has double segmental, arched openings flanking a Palladian window, the center part of which is a door to the roof of the veranda below. The veranda, six steps above ground level, extends across the full width of the main house and returns along the sides ending at the projecting parlor on the west and the kitchen wing on the east. The porch has a balustrade with pairs of chamfered, rather slender rectangular columns. Its central portion, the width of the entrance bay, projects over the front steps. Because of the height restrictions of the porch roof, the double windows facing south and the single side windows of the drawing and dining rooms are rectangular. All other openings, including the circular windows in the gables have bold but plain hoodmolds of granite. The windows are 4/4 and extend to the floor. The north facade has a projecting entrance pavilion with the cornice returning partially across the gable. There is a small landing covered by a flat roof. It is supported by very large scroll brackets extending from the landing and terminating in pendants. Twiford's exterior trim is consistently very bold but plain and geometric in form. Openings, including the circular windows in the gables, have headmolds which are rectangular in section and are finished by an engaged pendant. Underneath the projecting cornice there are large pointed dentils against the stone. Large brackets, void of decorative carving, are few in number. One is placed at each angular change in the roof line and one in each direction at a corner. On the property there are several outbuildings in fair condition. To the rear of the mansion is a stuccoed carriage house with a two-car garage. East of the house is a large wooden barn with a slate roof and a log smokehouse. Significance: Elmonte was built by a member of the Dorsey family. The Dorseys are a prominent Maryland family who have distinguished themselves in law, politics, military life and business. Elmonte is not only connected with a distinguished Maryland family but is also a fine example of a mid-19th century country villa. Taken with his other buildings, its design demonstrates that Twiford's architect, Nathan Gibson Starkweather, was knowledgeable of current style and, could produce a finished house which could meet the needs of the upper classes.


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