Upper Fairmount Historic District
Upper Fairmount, Somerset County
Upper Fairmount is a quiet rural village situated along Fairmount Road (MD 361), which runs east/west along the Fairmount Peninsula. The Annemessex River, the Manokin River and its tributary, Back Creek along with Tangier Sound are the major water courses which bound this flat, poorly drained portion of Somerset County. The village is landlocked, rural in character, and surrounded by farms, fields, wooded land and a few modern houses. Most of the buildings face Fairmount Road, which curves in an arc as it passes through the village. Surrounding most houses are generous lots with mature shade trees, and in a few cases, period outbuildings accompany the dwellings. In addition to approximately 30 houses, the village contains two churches and two store buildings. The oldest house in the village is the Cook House (S-57), which dates to the turn of the 19th century. Two stories tall and three bays wide, this side hall/double pile house is distinguished by a partial brick gable end. All other village buildings post-date 1830 with a majority erected after the Civil War. A good percentage of the dwellings are simple vernacular buildings embellished with simple late-19th century trim. Perhaps the most significant structure still standing is the Upper Fairmount M. E. Church, located at the west end of the village proper. Built in 1870 to replace the first Greek Revival Church, this structure is a well-executed and interesting Gothic Revival Church sheathed in board-and-batten siding. The interior is especially noteworthy, for both the ceiling and the walls are covered with decorative, pressed-tin sheeting. Cecil Ford's store is the last mercantile business to survive in the town. Daniel Miles' store is located across the road but has not been active for several years. A half dozen grave markers remain between the post office and Ford's store and are the only above-ground indications that this was the site of the first Methodist Church.
Upper Fairmount is one of the best preserved of Somerset County's rural villages which catered to the needs of local farmers and watermen. A variety of improved house lots, churches, stores, and small garden plots characterize the village. All buildings are of frame construction and reflect the middle class incomes of its residents. Upper Fairmount's history is closely tied to the fact that better inland roads relieved the need to travel exclusively by water. By the 1820s, Maddox's Church had been formed in the village. Several important plantation houses stand within a short distance of Upper Fairmount. During the next few decades the village apparently grew at a modest pace, while a flurry of building occurred after the Civil War. Upper Fairmount evidently hit its peak around 1890-1920. Since then the village has experienced a slow decline and period of stagnation, which undoubtedly has been the reason for the maintenance of its 19th century village character.