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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Paul Baker Touart, 10/1987
Inventory No.: S-72
Other Name(s): Essex Farm, Vessey House
Date Listed: 12/22/1983
Location: Old Rehobeth Road (MD 667) , Rehobeth, Somerset County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1784-1798
Architect/Builder: Builder: Littleton Dennis, Jr.
Description: Caldicott is a large frame dwelling constructed between 1784 and 1798, for the locally prominent lawyer and farmer, Littleton Dennis. The house stands two stories above a raised basement of Flemish bond brick; the exterior is sheathed with beaded weatherboards; asphalt shingles cover the gable roof. Both the principal (north) and rear (south) facades are symmetrical, five bays wide, with a fanlighted entrance with nine-panel door in the central bay of the first story and a Palladian window above. The remaining bays hold 12/12 sash; the gable ends have 9/9 sash on the first and second stories with 6/6 windows lighting the attic. Most windows retain their original surrounds and sash. Corbeled brick interior chimneys rise from both gable peaks. A modillioned cornice defines the eaves. A one-bay, 20th century pedimented entrance porch shelters the front door, while a shed porch extends across the eastern three bays of the rear. A lower, gable-roofed, one-bay addition was attached to the east end c. 1930-1940. The interior exhibits a four-room plan unusual in a house of this date in the region; it is more typical of somewhat earlier (mid-18th century) buildings. Interior decorative detailing remains essentially intact, and includes a dogleg stair with turned posts and balusters and scroll-cut step ends; raised-paneled wainscoting, hearth walls, and doors; mantels; and molded cornices, chair rails, and baseboards. Also on the property are several outbuildings dating to the early to mid 20th century, including a gambrel-roofed barn, sheds and storage buildings, and a water tower. Significance: Caldicott derives significance from its architecture: having survived with over 90% of its original exterior and interior fabric, it possesses a degree of integrity which distinguishes it among the Federal-period houses of Somerset County. In addition, it represents an unusually late realization of a floor plan more commonly associated with mid-18th century houses in Tidewater Maryland; this late use of an earlier plan, as well as the overall design, closely links Caldicott with Beverly in neighboring Worcester County, the boyhood home of its documented builder, Littleton Dennis, Jr. The association with Dennis, a locally prominent lawyer, judge, and farmer, adds to the significance of the property.


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