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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT File Photo, Undated Photo
Porto Bello
Inventory No.: SM-13
Date Listed: 4/26/1972
Location: Portobello Road , Drayden, Saint Marys County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: after 1742
Description: Porto Bello is a 1 1/2-story gambrel-roofed Flemish bond brick house built after 1742. Two exterior chimneys stand at either gable end of the building. The two on the east end are exterior, while those on the west end are interior. Two smaller gambrel-roofed structures were added to the west gable end c. 1910, but were removed in the early 1980s. These were then replaced by a one-story enclosed sunporch, and another such addition was added to the east gable end. The house has five bays on both the north and south facades, including a central doorway which has a flat brick arch similar to the arches used over the window. Both entrances contain double doors and are surmounted by a 4-light transom. Windows are 9/9 sash with louvered shutters. There are three shed-roofed dormers on either side of the gambrel roof, whose windows contain a mix of 6/6 sash and replacement casement windows. The roof below the lower pitch-break once angled out to form a front (south) porch running across the main block; this and a similar porch on the rear (north) gave the house a bell-cast profile. These porches were removed in the early 1980s, and the south porch has been replaced by a one-story flat-roofed porch supported by paneled square columns with a second floor balustrade. The east gable end also once featured a pent-roofed entrance porch between the two chimneys, trimmed with sawnwork bargeboards Between the two stacks in the attic gable is a small 2/2 sash window with a splayed jack arch. Narrow 4/4 sash windows flank the chimneys on the second floor. In the south bay of the east facade is a narrow (2 pane wide) 6/6 sash window with a splayed jack arch. Displays a single narrow 4/4 sash window in the south bay of the second floor with a door in the same bay on the first floor. The interior of the house reflects changes in taste on the part of the owners. The 19th century molding in the dining room is an example. And the hallway has retained some mid-Georgian carving. Paneled dados and architrave trim remain in various places, as well as a highly decorated Federal cornice and sophisticated plaster ceiling medallion. Significance: An altered example of an early St. Mary's-Southern Maryland manor house type, Porto Bello still retains its basic characteristics. The interior reflects changes in taste on the part of the owners: the 19th-century molding in the dining room is an example. The hallway has retained some mid-Georgian carving. Porto Bello is located on a portion of the first grant of land recorded in the province of Maryland: West St. Mary's Manor, one of the nine original Maryland Manors.


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