Michael O. Bourne
Bloomingdale Road & US 50, Queenstown, Queen Annes County
Bloomingdale, is a Federal style, 2 1/2 story, brick mansion measuring approximately 51 feet long by 37 feet deep, not including a brick hyphen and wing on the southeast, reputed to be older than the main block, but which is not mentioned in the Federal Direct Tax of 1798. The main block was built by Thomas Johnings Seth in 1792, as confirmed by a date brick in the northwest wall. Its walls are laid in Flemish bond above a quarter-round molded water table, with narrow, white, convex mortar joints. Horizontal iron bars are set in the masonry as a grille in front of each of the basement windows. The main (southwest) facade has a center door and four windows at each level. A secondary entrance is located on the north elevation. Both entrance doors are alike, each having a semicircular fanlight with ray-like lead muntins with sunburst and swags. Flanking each door are smaller detached sidelights with three leaded circles with scrolls. All windows of the first story have 6/9 sash, while those of the second story have 6/6 sash. All windows have panes measuring 14" x 17", louvered shutters, and wide flat-arch lintels of rubbed brick. The building has a low pitch, hip roof, with a dormer in each end. The ridge of the dormer in each end is a continuation of the ridge of the main roof. The upper sash of the dormers are arched and are surrounded by molded trim, each with a keystone. Above the keystone is a full pediment with dentil trim. Northeast of the dormers are two large chimneys servicing fireplaces on interior walls. A two-story semi-octagonal portico occupies the central bay of the main facade. From evidence found in the brickwork around the second-story portico door, the door is an elongation of an original window. The portico cornice has only a single course of small dentils, whereas the main cornice has courses of larger dentils, and shaped modillions. Square, chamfered columns with plain caps are set at each angle of the portico. They are connected by a plain balustrade, except where the steps rise from the ground. The sides of the house are three bays deep, the northern bays being doors; one to the wing and the other to the northwest porch. The ceiling of this porch is a T-shaped barrel vault, mimicking the fanlight form of the transom above the door. The porch roof is supported on eight square, recessed, paneled columns. A row of dentils decorate the simple cornice. It is above this roof that the date brick, 1792, is placed. A porch at the northeast entrance is very similar to the northwest porch, both having similar posts and trim and unusual seats, an integral part of the balustrade. The wing and hyphen are built of brick and covered with a thin coat of stucco. The gable facade of the southwest wing has two windows on the first story and a Palladian style window above. A dentil cornice is used in the gable end and at the eaves. Near the center of this section is a chimney east of which is a brick lean-to, formerly the kitchen.
At the time it was built in 1792, Bloomingdale was one of the largest and most refined houses in the county, and it survives today in nearly pristine condition. Constructed by Thomas Johnings Seth, it was later owned by Sallie Harris, a prominent member of Baltimore and Queen Anne’s County society. In 1880 it passed to Severn Teackle Wallis, a leading figure in Baltimore legal circles, a founding member of the Maryland Historical Society in 1844, and a charter member of the Peabody Institute.