Paul Baker Touart
Ward Brothers' House and Shop
3199, Sackertown Road, Crisfield, Somerset County
The Ward Brothers' House and Shop consist of a two-story, two-bay, one-room plan frame dwelling erected by the brothers' father, Lemuel Travis Ward, Sr., around 1880, and the brothers' shop, a composite building comprised of individual structures grouped together behind a long false front. The Ward house is supported on a part brick, part concrete block foundation, and the structure is sheathed with asbestos shingles over weatherboard siding. Two 2/2 sash windows light the first and second floors. Contemporary to the main block are one-room plan wings that extend to the south and east to provide space for a dining room and kitchen. The most recent addition was in 1962 when another single-story one-room plan wing was attached to the east gable end of the main house for an additional bedroom. The shop incorporates several turn-of-the-20th century frame structures, including the former Ward barber shop, behind the false front.
The Ward Brothers' House and Shop are nominated for their association with Lemuel T. Ward, Jr. (1896-1985) and Steve Ward (1895-1976), recognized as the fathers of the modern movement in decorative wildlife carving in America. Working in the folk tradition of wood decoy carving by 1918, the Ward brothers' achieved statewide and later national fame for their skill in creating lifelike appearances for their working decoys. Beginning as early as the 1920s, the brothers' innovative work, led principally by Lem Ward, started to incorporate purely decorative carving into their repertoire. In 1948 the Ward Brothers were awarded with first place honors in the National Decoy Makers Contest, and during the 1950s and the 1960s their work was featured in national, state, and local periodicals. The period of significance represents occupation of the house by Lemuel and Steve Ward, both of whom were born in the house and both died while still living here. No other property clearly represents their way of life, both personal and professional.