Photo credit: Paul Baker Touart , 12/1983

Property Name: William T. Tull House
Date Listed: 3/26/1996
Inventory No.: S-183
Location: Crisfield Westover Road (MD 413), Westover, Somerset County

Description: The William T. Tull House is a two-story, three-bay, center passage/double-pile plan dwelling, erected around 1860. The frame house rests on a continuous brick foundation, and is sheathed with weatherboards and trimmed with corner pilasters and bracketed eaves. A Tuscan columned porch spans the south (main) facade, and a pair of two-story bay windows marks the east gable end. Two narrow brick interior chimneys with dentiled caps rise through the ridge of the steeply pitched gable roof. The exterior decorative detailing combines features associated with the Greek Revival and Italianate styles in a manner characteristic of the vernacular architecture of the Eastern Shore region in the mid 19th century. The double front door is partially glazed, and it is flanked by paired 2/2 sash windows to the east and a single 6/6 sash window to the west. The second floor is marked by three unevenly spaced 6/6 sash windows. The window openings are fitted with louvered shutters. The east gable end is dominated by the two two-story polygonal bay windows, which were added around 1895-1900. The windows are fitted with Queen Anne-style sash, with small lights bordering a large pane in the upper sash. Fixed in the upper gable end is a 6/6 sash window with louvered shutters. The extended eave at the gable end is fitted with decorative brackets. The north (rear) elevation is detailed in a similar manner to the front, with a central entrance flanked by 6/6 sash windows. The door is sheltered by a one-bay Colonial Revival-style porch with eave brackets and pilasters at the corners. The west side of the house is covered by a two-story, one-bay by one-room wide wing and a single-story pantry that once served as a kitchen. A single-story colonnade and two-story kitchen were formerly attached to the wets gable end, but were torn down in the early 20th century. The interior is finished with woodwork typical of the period, including architraves with bull's-eye corner blocks, a turned baluster stair, and fireplace mantels. The building conforms to the center-passage, double-pile floor plan commonly associated with residential buildings in the region during the period. Also on the property is a small mid-19th century frame wash house.

Significance: The William T. Tull House is significant as an example of the mid-19th century transition from traditional building practice to popular architectural forms. The building's handcrafted heavy timber structural framing, essentially symmetrical elevations, and center passage/double-pile floor plan reflect longstanding vernacular traditions in the Eastern Shore region; other features of the house reflect popular architectural trends and changing construction technology of the mid 19th century. The bracketed eaves and corner pilasters illustrate the influence of picturesque architectural styles promulgated through mid-19th century pattern books and builders' manuals. Many of the architectural elements, including the eave reflect the increasing availability of machine-made, mass-produced building parts in the period.




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