Preservation Howard County
Elkridge Furnace Complex
HO-273, HO-367, HO-503
5730, , 5735, Furnace Road, Furnace Avenue & Race Road, Race Road, Elkridge, Howard County
The Elkridge Furnace Complex comprises the six remaining buildings of an iron furnace which operated from the 18th century into the 1860s. Included are a large and refined 2 1/2 story side passage double-pile Federal/Greek Revival house, the residence of the furnace owner, constructed c. 1835; a frame dwelling of approximately the same date which probably accommodated a manager or clerk; a 2 1/2 story, 5-bay center-passage company store and hotel or dormitory for furnace workers; two 19th century 14' x 16' plank outbuildings, possibly slave quarters; and a mid-19th century brick duplex worker's dwelling. The complex retains a high degree of integrity.
The Elkridge Furnace Complex is significant for the architectural character of some of its buildings and for its association with the iron industry in 19th century Maryland. Architecturally, the owner's residence is an unusually sophisticated example of a second-quarter 19th century house for then-rural Howard County. Characterized by refined Federal/Greek Revival woodwork, the house has an unusual interior chimney placement, ornate ceiling plaster work, double doors between the first floor parlors, and stone mantels. Adding to architectural significance of the complex are two buildings of dovetailed plank construction. These buildings are rare examples of a form of construction believed to have once been relatively common. Historically, the Elkridge Furnace Complex adds to our knowledge of the iron industry. The complex buildings reflect domestic aspects of the managers and workers plus insights into the commercial aspect. Of particular note is the company store and hotel dormitory. This building, with its high degree of integrity of plan and features, permits inferences regarding the building's functions. Especially noteworthy are the early security devices and the hierarchy of finishes reflecting the status of various rooms. The only approximately comparable building known in the state is the Harford Furnace Store in Harford County which has been extensively altered.