Stephen G. DelSordo
417, High Street, Cambridge, Dorchester County
Built in the 18th century, possibly as early as 1765, Sycamore Cottage is a 1 1/2-story, single-pile, gambrel-roofed frame structure of hewn framing, with beaded weatherboards and a hall./parlor plan. The house has seen a number of changes including Victorian windows, a central Colonial Revival entrance porch, 1840s Greek Revival interior decorative detailing, and the addition of a large one-story meeting hall covered with aluminum siding projecting from the back. Three bays wide on the southeast facade, the house has a central entrance with a four-light transom, which is covered by a one-story, one-bay gable-roofed entrance portico supported by square columns. A photo from c. 1922 shows a hip-roofed porch covering all three bays of this facade, also supported by square posts, but with a latticework balustrade. Windows are 2/2 sash with louvered shutters. Projecting from the gambrel roof are two gable-roofed 2/2 sash dormer windows. The northeast end of the house has a partially exterior chimney, with a window in the southeast bay on either floor. The southwest gable end has an interior chimney, and also a window in the southeast bay of either floor, although the c. 1922 photo shows the second floor window to be a 20th century modification. Attached to the rear is an 1840 two-story frame addition with a single exterior chimney on its northwest gable end, and a long 1932 one-story addition to the northwest of this. The building was moved to this location in 1840. The first wing was added and the chimneys reworked at that time, and the exterior was resided with sawn beaded weatherboard. On the interior, the mantels date to the 1840 move. Those on the first floor have a three-part entablature and side columns. Those on the second floor have a plain recessed entablature and side pilasters. The 1840 wing housed the stairs and kitchen. The stairs are plain and rise in two runs to the second floor. The banister is varnished wood with a plain turned newel post and balustrade. The building sets back a few feet from the sidewalk with modest landscaping along the front and side and a parking lot to the back.
Sycamore Cottage is architecturally and historically significant. Built possibly as early as 1765, Sycamore Cottage is one of only four surviving examples of an 18th century gambrel-roofed building in Dorchester County and the only one standing in Cambridge. The building also has excellent examples of Greek Revival interior decorative detailing as seen in the mantels and trim which were installed at the time the house was moved and redecorated. Although not the only examples of this woodwork in the town, it contributes to our understanding of the range of expression this style had in Cambridge. Since 1922, Sycamore Cottage has been the headquarters of the Cambridge Woman's Club, a social active organization that has had a strong impact on the town's history. Through this organization were founded such cultural and civic groups as the county historical society, library, hospital auxiliary, Red Cross chapter, and garden club.