Photo credit: Christopher Weeks , 04/1993

Property Name: The Vineyard
Date Listed: 7/22/1994
Inventory No.: HA-417, HA-418, HA-419, HA-420
Location: 1200, , Conowingo Road (BUS 1), Forest Hill, Harford County

Description: The Vineyard consists of a cluster of buildings on a knoll in the center of a 310-acre working grain and livestock farm. The main house is a large stone structure, the oldest section of which (the three western bays) comprises a two-story side stairhall/double parlor dwelling built c. 1804. The rubblestone walls display distinct coursing and all windows and doors boast keystoned stone lintels, a treatment similar to that seen on the finest structures of the time and place. Windows on the first story are 9/9 and are 6/6 above. The main, six-panel door in the eastern most bay is placed in a paneled recess and flanked by two-pane sidelights and crowned by a three-light transom. A large, interior brick chimney rises at the gable roof’s western peak. Two small casement windows flank the chimney in the gable end on the attic level. Most of the restrained Federal interior woodwork remains intact. Around 1870, two bays were added to the old house. This addition is easily distinguishable because it lacks the distinctive lintels and has a central attic gable with round-arched window, but is fully sympathetic to the old house, for it repeats the use of coursed rubblestone, follows the same general massing and window treatment, and continues the gable roofline. The Vineyard also contains an array of stone outbuildings to the rear (north) of the main house.

Significance: The Vineyard, a working family farm for nine generations of the Preston family, is primarily significant for the architectural character of the main house and outbuildings. The 2 1/2-story, five-bay stone main house in the property, built in 1804 and enlarged c. 1875, is a superior example of two distinct and important eras in Harford County architecture. The three-bay older section, built by Bernard Preston and still easily discerned, ranks among the finest of the county's Federal-era houses. The side stairhall/double parlor plan, coursed rubblestone walls, and general massing anticipate such important county dwellings as Woodside and Oak Farm, and its keystoned lintels seem to be locally unique among the county's domestic buildings. Within, the virtually untouched woodwork (chairrails, mantels, stairs, and paneled window inserts) ranks with the finest known local examples. In all, it thoroughly reflects the agriculturally derived wealth and sophistication of the Preston family, leaders in the region since the early 18th century. The house and 310 of the original 400 acres passed to Preston's great-grandson John B. Wysong in 1878, and the farm's boundaries have remained virtually unchanged since then. Wyson,who with his wife, nee Fannie Preston, moved into the house in 1872, added tow rooms to the dwelling (a dining room, and a kitchen to replace the earlier freestanding log kitchen); in accomplishing this he extended the three-bay house to five bays, but retained the window alignment, roofline, and massing of Bernard's dwelling. He also added a central attic gable to the roofline. All his work is thoroughly representative of the time, an era that saw Harford County enter its most prosperous years. Interestingly, Wysong incorporated subtleties into his work (e.g., the windows lack keystone lintels) that still allow one to detect two distinct eras of growth. In addition to the main house, the farm retains among the county's most elaborate and intact collection of historically significant outbuildings, including three structures (a dairy/smokehouse, an ice house, and a slave quarter) which may predate the older section of the main building.




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