Photo credit: Christopher Weeks , 08/1990

Property Name: Nelson-Reardon-Kennard House
Date Listed: 4/15/1991
Inventory No.: HA-854, HA-855
Location: 3604, Philadelphia Road (MD 7), Abingdon, Harford County

Description: The Nelson-Reardon-Kennard House faces south towards Old Post Road (MD 7) in the unincorporated village of Abingdon in southern Harford County. The two-part frame house has a c. 1785 five-bay, two-story front section and a three-bay, one-room rear service wing. The wing was originally 1 1/2 stories tall, but was raised to two in the late 19th century. The principal entrance form the center bay fo the front section and is centered between two 6/9 windows. Five regularly spaced windows light the second story. All windows appear to have their original framing, shutter dogs, and glass. Exterior walls in both sections are covered with their original random-width beaded weatherboards except the added second story of the rear wing which is sheathed in its original German siding. A six-post porch spans the front of the house. It is signed JB, is thought to be the work of Harford County mastercraftsman Jacob Bull, and is among the oldest documented porches in the county. Inside, the main section has a center stairhall plan with one room to each side. All rooms have architrave trim, and simple chairrail and baseboards. Side rooms have original mantels, the dining room is flanked by an original cupboard with paneled doors, and stairs have scrolled step ends. All this trim is typical of the local restrained Federal style and is original and in place. Flooring is new but was placed over and without removing the original. The rear wing has one room per floor with a pantry/storeroom and a simple back stair. Just west of the house is a 10' x 10' brick springhouse/dairy. Laid in common bond, the structure has a hip roof and the date 1802 carved in the slate doorsill.

Significance: The Nelson-Reardon-Kennard House is architecturally significant as an intact example of a Federal period I house, and as the oldest documented frame dwelling in Harford County. This house form would have once housed a significant number of middle-class Marylanders throughout the state but, in part at least because it is seemingly exceptional, few examples remain in Harford County in such unaltered condition with floor plan, plaster walls, mantel and other woodwork still in place. Additional architectural significance comes from the front porch, built c. 1888, which is one of the few documented examples of the work of Harford County master builder Jacob Bull.




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