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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Preservation Howard County, 01/2001
Glenelg Manor
Inventory No.: HO-15
Other Name(s): Glenelg Country School
Date Listed: 2/2/1983
Location: 12793 Folly Quarter Road , Glenelg, Howard County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1851, 1954
Description: Glenelg Manor is a country villa designed in the Gothic Revival style to dramatize as well as harmonize with the surrounding rural landscape. The entrance or north facade of Glenelg is marked by many of the features which Andrew Jackson Downing cites in his description of the Gothic Villa: the characteristic high corner tower and varied outline created by the embrasured and merloned stonework crowning the tower and entrance porch, and the boldly articulated cornice topped by the hipped roof of the main block. The low pitch of this roof also serves to accentuate the dramatic verticality of the corner tower. Other typical elements of mid-century Gothic Revival are demonstrated by Glenelg: a proliferation of polygonal chimney pots interrupting the roofline, hood molding over windows and pairs of windows, and a massive carriage porch entry. Glenelg possesses a splendid Greek Revival interior which despite some changes imposed by its current usage as a school has survived largely intact and in good condition. Glenelg is characterized by a radial plan: central entrance hallway containing an imposing ceremonial stair and giving access to double parlors to the west and to the east a large squarish library climaxed by the northeast tower. To the south, the service wing provides a dining area with kitchen and other auxiliary chambers. To the south of the complex of Glenelg School is an elaborate network of terraced gardens, the outlines of which are created by random coursed fieldstone walls, and allees of boxwood interspersed with grouped plantings of cedar trees. Other ornamental trees such as red maples and the necessary outbuildings are incorporated at various points for contrasting interest. A number of outbuildings remain on the property, including a small cottage, a hip-roofed stuccoed-stone carriage house now converted to classrooms and connected to the main block via the western additions, a stone smokehouse with beaded wooden box cornice, a small square pumphouse also of stone with beaded box cornice, and a late-19th century octagonal stone pumphouse. Significance: Glenelg Manor is significant for its architecture, as the best extant rural example of a Gothic Revival domestic building in Howard County, if not in all of Maryland. Situated atop a small hill overlooking gently rolling countryside, Glenelg Manor embodies the romantic ideals of the style as espoused by its greatest architectural spokesmen, A. J. Davis and A. J. Downing. What is perhaps most architecturally significant about Glenelg Manor is the interrelationship of the use of the Gothic Revival style on its interior. The building's exterior contains many of the most notable design motifs of the Gothic Revival style: asymmetrical massing, the use of Tudor arches in the entranceway, battlements, label moldings over window openings, a corner tower which functions as a library, the use of foliated ornamentation, oriel windows, the use of leaded glass, and the use of stucco over local stone to give the structure a monochromatic, imposing appearance. The interior of Glenelg Manor displays a wide array of the finest Greek Revival detail extant in any rural Maryland house of this period. The typical hall, double parlor plan is expanded in size to fill the imposing proportions of the Gothic Revival exterior. The amply proportioned hall is notable for the use of the classical niche, plant-like motifs on the stair newel, and balusters and anthemion-decorated bronze wall lights. Shouldered door architraves with rosettes mark door openings into the parlors. The parlors themselves are opulent, separated by two pairs of sliding doors. Each parlor is in itself separated by Corinthian column screens and wall pilasters, and decorated with egg and dart and honeysuckle plasterwork, with central ceiling medallions. Baroque mantels of fine marble complete the design scheme. The building has been used as Glenelg Country School since 1954.


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