Susan G. Pearl
16109, Marlboro Pike (MD 725), Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County
Ashland is a 2 1/2-story 3 bay by 2 bay hip-roofed frame dwelling with fine Italianate decorative detail. The principal entrance is in the center bay of the three-bay east facade. The six-panel door is flanked by sidelights, and has a six-light transom. This bay is sheltered by an ornate porch with chamfered posts and deeply molded jigsawn brackets. The porch is flanked by two one-story semi-octagonal projecting bays also with brackets. Each facet of the projecting bays holds a 4/4 sash window with louvered shutters. The south elevation also has a one-story porch in the east bay and a projecting bay window in the west, matching the two at the front. The house is sheathed with plain board siding, and the hip roof is covered with patterned metal. All cornices are decorated with jigsawn brackets. Interior brick chimneys pierce the north and south slopes of the roof near the ridge. All four elevations of the house contain a cross gable containing a 4/2 sash window with a shallow pointed top. The other windows are generally 6/6 sash, with louvered shutters. The house rests on a brick foundation which encloses a basement. The interior of the house follows an irregular Georgian plan: central stairhall with two unequal spaces on each side. The stairhall features a handsome open-string, curving staircase with turned newel and balusters; this elegant stair is unsupported above the first curve, and continues, with the same decorative detail, to the third story. The house stands with a few domestic outbuildings on a knoll in a grove of large oaks and white pines; it is approached from the old road between Upper Marlboro and Hill's Bridge by a long unpaved drive lined with young beech trees. On lower ground to the south stand a tobacco barn, a stable, a chicken house, and a pump house.
Ashland is an excellent example of Victorian Italianate domestic architecture. It was built in 1867 by William Beanes Hill of Compton Bassett for his son, William Murdock Hill, and has been continuously associated with the prominent Hill family of Upper Marlboro. Local builders William H. Peake, Jr. and John H. Hunt were contracted in 1866, the year before William Murdock Hill's marriage to Aimee Hopkins of New Orleans, and the house was completed in the summer of 1867. Ashland is one of only a few significant frame dwellings of the Italianate style which survive in the county. With its simple square floor plan, its repeated cross gables in each plane of the hip roof, and principally in its elegant Italianate trim, it is perhaps the county's most outstanding example of Victorian Italianate domestic architecture.