Michael F. Dwyer
22410, Aquasco Road (MD 381), Aquasco, Prince Georges County
Villa DeSales, built in 1877-1878, is a large five-by-three bay, three-story frame High Victorian Gothic dwelling with a two-story south service wing. Cross gables and gable-roofed dormers on each facade are decorated with sawnwork bargeboards, crossbracing, and Eastlake pendants. The wall surface is asbestos shingle, hiding the original German siding. The house rests on a high fieldstone foundation. Original exterior features include floor-to-ceiling 1/2 sash windows on the first floor, louvered shutters, and porch and roof decorative detail. The principal elevation, facing west, is five bays wide on the main block. A central entrance is surrounded by transom and sidelights. The hip-roofed first-story porch is supported by chamfered posts, frieze, and brackets, and sawnwork balusters. This porch wraps around the north and east sides of the building. The southern two bays of the west facade project slightly, with a gable-front roofline. The roof slope covering the remaining bays features two elaborate dormers. Interior chimneys pierce the complex roofline at various locations. A four-bay two-story wing extends to the south, mirroring the characteristics of the rest of the house. This wing features wall dormers and jerkinhead roof and jerkinhead crossgables. On the interior little has been altered save for the electrification of the Gothic Revival-style gas lighting fixtures and the application of wallpaper in some rooms. The lighting fixtures, the marble mantels, and wood and plaster moldings are original features. Much original furniture, some in Gothic Revival style, remains in the house. The first floor plan of a center hall with flanking double parlors and high ceilings is repeated on the second and third floors. East and south of the house is a complex of agricultural and domestic outbuildings dating from the 1870s. These include a meathouse, well house, dairy, corn crib, and chicken coop. A large picturesque board-and-batten stable and carriage house, having a decorative slate gable roof with a center cupola and spire, also dates from the 1870s. An early-20th century barn also stands on the property.
The Villa DeSales is significant for its architectural character which includes a complex of six 19th century outbuildings. Constructed in the summer of 1877, Villa DeSales is one of only two High Victorian Gothic-style dwellings surviving in Prince George's County. The style is an unusual one in Southern Maryland, an area heavily agricultural historically. The large size of the house, the decorative slate roof, amount and variety of cornice and gable trusses, brackets, and pendants; and the well preserved interior with original Gothic Revival-style lighting fixtures an parlor and bedroom furnishings make the house exceptional. In the rear yard are seven domestic and agricultural outbuildings in good condition. The stable is the only High Victorian Gothic barn or stable in Prince George's County. Villa DeSales was built for George Forbes (1844-1931) and his wife, Fanny Bowling Forbes (1853-1929), near her family home in Aquasco. The Bowling and Forbes families were large landowners in southern Prince George's and Charles Counties during the 19th century.