Skip to Main Content

Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Cleora Barnes Thompson, 10/1980
The Lawn
Inventory No.: HO-141
Date Listed: 10/29/1984
Location: 6036 Old Lawyers Hill Road , Elkridge, Howard County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1842, c. 1845, c. 1860
Description: The Lawn is a 19th century frame house with five outbuildings, three of which date from the 19th century (two cottages and a barn) and contribute to the significance, and two of which do not (20th century garage and greenhouse). The Lawn was constructed in three phases (c. 1842, c. 1845, c. 1860). This complicated building embodies both the eclecticism of the 19th century and the changing and varied interests of the owner/builder, George Washington Dobbin. The Phase I house was a simple rectangular building built as a summer retreat. In the mid 1840s when Dobbin retired for health reasons, he doubled the size of the building. He converted the original house to a library and stair hall and constructed a two story addition to the west containing a double parlor, dining room, back hall, and porch on the first floor and bedrooms above. A one-story porch surrounded the Phase I building on the north, east and south. Fifteen years later, Dobbin made the final additions: (1) extending the southern double parlor to the south which became the base of the three-story observatory tower, (2) added a two-story kitchen wing to the west, and (3) enclosed part of the Phase II western porch. The asbestos siding was added in the 1970s. The outbuildings are located to the west and south. The 19th century barn is located south and west of the house. The two 19th century cottages were moved to avoid demolition by the Harbor Tunnel Thruway to the south side of The Lawn just east of the house. Significance: The significance of The Lawn derives primarily from association with George Washington Dobbin, 1809-1894, a lawyer for whom the house was erected as a residence. Admitted to the bar at the age of 21, Dobbin rose to the position of judge on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore in 1867. A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, Dobbin became Dean of the law faculty of that institution. He was also a founder of the Maryland Historical Society and member at various times of the board of directors or trustees of the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, the Peabody Institute, Baltimore Library Company, Maryland Hospital for the Insane, and Johns Hopkins Hospital. The house derives further significance from its architectural character. The Lawn underwent three major changes by Dobbin in adapting the building to meet his tastes, and needs, and interests. Although several architectural influences are visible in the decorative detailing, the architectural significance comes from the personal quality that is reflected in the assemblage to accommodate the owner's use rather than fashion.


Return to the National Register Search page