Paul Baker Touart
James Martin House
207, Ironshire Street, Snow Hill, Worcester County
The James Martin house is a 1 1/2-story gambrel roofed frame dwelling on a Flemish bond foundation, with a transverse passage, double-pile plan, erected around 1790. The exterior is partially clad with original beaded weatherboards and the first floor rooms are lighted by a combination of 9/9 and 12/12 sash windows. Second floor windows, including those on the gable-roofed dormers, are 6/6 sash. The principal entrance is in the center bay of the north gable end, sheltered by a one-bay gable-roofed porch. A single corbeled chimney rises from the south gable end. Attached to the east side of the house is a mid-19th century two-story porch. Extending from the west side is a one-story service wing comprising a former hyphen and kitchen wing that was remodeled during the 1940s and again in the 1960s. The interior retains a large percentage of its original woodwork including several raised-panel overmantels and raised six-panel doors hung on wrought hinges. Exposed beaded joists remain in place on the second floor.
The James Martin House, a gambrel-roofed timber frame dwelling constructed c. 1790, is significant as an example of a type of vernacular domestic architecture which occurred in small numbers in the lower Eastern Shore region during the 18th century. The James Martin House is the only remaining example of this form in Worcester County, and one of only three known examples in the lower Eastern Shore region. The other two examples, Pemberton Hall (WI-1) and Bryan's Manor (WI-3), are brick buildings constructed in the mid 18th century; the James Martin House is the only timber frame example to survive. The interior follows a transverse hall plan, a room disposition that became popular in the region during the post-Revolutionary War era, and the interior displays superior craftsmanship in its extensive raised paneling.