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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Jennifer K. Cosham, 04/26/2006
Gambrill House
Inventory No.: F-7-58
Other Name(s): Boscobel House
Date Listed: 11/18/1985
Location: 4801 Urbana Pike (MD 355) , Frederick, Frederick County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1868-1873
Description: The Gambrill House, or Boscobel, is a three-story brick mansion with mansard roof and central tower. Its high style Second Empire Victorian decoration makes it significant for its rural location. Yet its rear ell with two-storied galleried rear porch within the ell is a typical feature of a western Maryland house type and is without ornament. The facade, two sides and central tower, are richly ornamented. The principal 5-bay facade faces northwest. Its central entrance bay projects as the lower part of a 4 1/2-story mansard-roofed rectangular tower. A one-story porch across the front has a broad projecting central bay-ornamental square columns with scroll brackets, a single-bracketed cornice, and a balustraded flat roof with urn-and-ball finials topping the corner posts. Paired entrance doors are in a round-arched opening. Front windows at the first floor come almost to the floor level. The tower is ornamented at the second story level by a tall square-headed window under a heavy bracketed hood which is in turn sheltered by a projecting balcony supported by scrolled brackets at the third floor. The third floor tower opening is round-arched with a molded hood and an elaborate finial. Centered in the 7-bay northeast facade is a slightly projecting pseudo tower with single-bay, one-story porch at the secondary entrance. A one-story projecting bay window with narrow bracketed cornice is in the far right bay and matches a similar window in the left bay of the southwest facade. First and second story windows on the major facades are square headed with ornamented segmental panels and molded hoods above. They have both interior and exterior shutters. Cornices under the mansard roofs have heavy paired brackets and a pattern of V-shaped dentils. Mansard roofs have a horizontal band of fishscale slates. Dormers are round-arched with hood moldings and fleur-de-lys finial. The common bond brick walls are painted buff. Exterior woodwork is white except for the shutters, which are black. On the interior of the house, the entrance hall is richly ornamented with a carved newel post and a continuous Victorian balustrade from the first to the third floor. There are imported marble mantels with richly carved fruit ornament in the south downstairs parlor. Significance: The Gambrill House, or Boscobel, is a richly ornamented but conservative interpretation of the Second Empire style. It is significant in that it represents a style of architecture that was rarely used in its "high style" form in rural Maryland. Boscobel is also significant for its association with James Gambrill, for whom the house was erected. Gambrill, as owner of both Araby Mill and the Frederick City Mill, was an important figure in Frederick County's industrial history.


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