Paul Baker Touart
Dr. William B. Pritchard House
29995, Polks Road, Princess Anne, Somerset County
The Dr. William B. Pritchard house is a 2 1/2 story, five-bay, frame dwelling constructed in several stages between c. 1860 and 1906. Supported by a low brick foundation, the single-pile frame house is sheathed with plain weatherboard siding, and it is covered by a steeply pitched, asphalt shingle roof. Exterior corbeled brick chimneys stand at either gable end. The house substantially achieved its present Colonial Revival configuration in a remodeling campaign carried out in 1904-06. At that time, it was enlarged with additions and Tuscan columned porches that stretch across the south, east, and north elevations. The portion of the wraparound porch across the south elevation has a rooftop balustrade. Attached to the east end of the porch is a distinctive octagonal gazebo. A single-story west end addition, attached in 1947, joins a 1 1/2-story frame kitchen to the main block. The main facade, to the south, is an asymmetrical five-bay elevation with a glazed central entrance flanked by windows. Most windows are 6/6 sash windows with louvered shutters. The second floor of the south facade features a gable-roofed one-room extension of the main block, which is supported by the porch roof. The north elevation, overlooking Wicomico Creek, is also an asymmetrical five bays, with an entrance in the second bay from the east end. On both roof slopes, a large cross gable occupies the second bay from the east end, with a single 6/6 sash window with louvered shutters. Hip-roofed dormers with 3/3 sash windows appear in the east bay, and two to the west of each cross gable. The west gable end of the house is partially covered by a single-story, flat-roofed wing, topped by a balustrade that marks the perimeter of the addition. A triple set of 6/6 sash windows mark the north wall, and single windows flank the chimney stack. A the southwest corner of the house is the c. 1904-1906 1 1/2-story rectangular frame kitchen wing distinguished by a gable-roofed, two-story porch attached to the west side. Originally a separate building, the wing was connected to the main block by a hyphen in 1947. The interiors feature a mixture of mid-to-late 19th century and early-to-mid- 20th century woodwork. Also on the property is a c. 1900 frame dwelling now used as a guest house.
The Dr. William B. Pritchard House is significant for its association with a trend at the turn of the 20th century in which purchasers from outside the region acquired rural properties on the lower Eastern Shore and remodeled them to serve as country estates. The attenuated, single-pile, Colonial Revival dwelling has at its core a traditional 19th-century farmhouse, which was reworked extensively around 1904-1906 by New York physician, Dr. William B. Pritchard. Pritchard's acquisition and remodeling of the house are reflective of an early-20th century trend in which rural Eastern Shore properties were purchased by urban professionals for country retreats. The buildings located on these tracts were frequently remodeled in the Colonial Revival style, which evoked romantic associations with Eastern Shore history and gentility. The Pritchard House derives additional significance as an expression of the Colonial Revival style in Somerset County, one of several well-executed remodelings in this style attributed to local master builder Richard A. Malone. The period of significance, c. 1860-1906, spans the original construction and early-20th century remodeling of the house.