Michael F. Dwyer
Science Drive, MD Science & Tech Ctr., Bowie, Prince Georges County
Melford is a multi-part, gable-roofed, brick and stone dwelling house which stands on a prominent knoll within the Maryland Science and Technology Park, north of US Route 50. The 2 1/2-story main block was built of five-course common bond brick, probably in the mid-late 1840s, with elements of the Greek Revival style. Facing west towards Crain Highway, the three-bay facade of the main block has a door in the north bay, with a 6-light transom and 3-light sidelights, covered by a one-story pedimented porch supported by pairs of chamfered square columns. Windows on the main block are 6/6 sash, with splayed jack arches and louvered shutters. Two gable-roofed dormer windows with 6/6 sash windows pierce either side of the shallow standing-seam metal roof. The upper sash of each window is curved. The south gable end of the house is an extremely wide three bays, and is distinguished by a two-story semicircular projecting center bay, above which is a wide flush chimney stack with pseudo-Palladian window treatment. Attached to the north gable end is a lower 2 1/2-story kitchen wing. The wing holds 9/9 sash windows on the first floor and 9/6 on the second. The wing appears to have been built in several stages, and its east wall is flush with that of the main block. The southernmost three bays, attached to the house, features windows placed high on the wall on both floors. The northern two bays, separated from the first three by an interior chimney, has windows lower on the wall, indicating a possible change in floor level inside. The two bay north gable end of the building is constructed of stone to the top of the second floor windows, and brick above, including the flush chimney, which is flanked by two small attic windows. A shed-roofed screened porch stands in the L created by the corner of the main block and wing. The east facade of the house is similar to the west in fenestration, but the window above the door on the main block is lower than those in the other two bays. The one-bay porch covering this entrance has a shallow hip roof, on single posts, and is attached to an enclosed porch area to the north. On the interior, the main block of the house was built on a side-hall-and-double-parlor plan, and interior details reflect the Greek Revival style. Interior features include a circular plaster medallion with plain concentric astragal moldings in the stairhall, door and window surrounds with symmetrically molded trim and bulls-eye corner blocks. The three-story staircase has a heavy turned newel and mitred cap and plain tapered round balusters. The open-string staircase is bracketed, and has a paneled spandrel. Jigsawn valances surmount the lintels of the parlor windows. On one pane in the south window of the west parlor is scratched the legend, "Florence Hardisty, Melford, January 11, 1881". Centered in the south wall of each parlor are fireplaces with identical wooden mantels. The openings of these mantels are flanked by colonettes and have paneled frieze and mantel shelf. These were removed from second-story bedrooms to replace earlier marble mantels. Northeast of the house are three outbuildings. The three-bay gable-roofed slave quarter, converted for use as an office, may date from the 18th century. Southeast of the quarter is a pyramidal-roofed meat house, which may also date from the late 18th century. On the slope to the north of these outbuildings is a 20th century pyramidal-roofed pump house. East of the house are terraced gardens, falling away from the house on three levels. The future of the house and its use within the Park have not been determined.
Melford is an outstanding example of a mid 19th century brick Greek Revival-style plantation house in Prince George's County. Built in the mid-to-late 1840s for Dr. Richard Duckett, it is distinguished by an unusual semicircular projecting bay and chimney treatment at the south gable. Its grounds include the remnants of the 19th century terraced gardens and three small outbuildings, two of which may predate the house. The home for 140 years of two prominent local families, the Ducketts and the Hardestys, Melford is a county landmark of unique architectural character.