24700, Williston Road, Williston/Denton, Caroline County
Memory Lane is a 2 1/2-story, frame Italianate-style house constructed in 1864 and distinguished by extensive porches, decorative brackets, and an octagonal cupola. The entire front facade features a wraparound porch with heavy square chamfered columns and brackets. The first floor holds a pair of 4/4 windows with louvered shutters in each bay flanking the central entrance, which has five-light sidelights. The second floor holds three pairs of 4/4 windows. The gable roof features wide, overhanging eaves supported by large, ornate cornice brackets. A corbeled and paneled brick chimney rises from the interior of each gable end. The two bay end facades hold two 4/4 windows on each floor. Second floor windows on the main block are topped with heavy architraves. The cupola in the center of the roof holds 8 windows and ornate brackets, and is topped with an ornate turned finial. The house is T-shaped, with a 3-bay rear wing, 2 stories high with a simpler bracketed cornice and 6/6 windows. The interior floor plan features a large front section that consists basically of four large rooms, two downstairs and two up, on either side of a central hallway. The front staircase features a particularly ornate carved newel post and step ends, turned balusters, and a mahogany railing. Flooring throughout the house is random-width soft yellow pine. Directly behind the main house is a frame milkhouse, with the plaster walls and water troughs still intact, and a hip-roofed, four-seat privy. The property is in very good condition and has had very little alteration since its construction.
Memory Lane, built in 1864, is a product of the national wave of interest in the Italianate style in America, and is an exceptional example of the ornate craftsmanship of this style. Contextually it relates to the great impact of the shipping trade on the area's economy, whereas the Italianate style cupola served as an enclosed widow's walk from which the steamboats could be seen approaching the nearby wharf. This home was built by the wealthy shipping magnate who ran the wharf, A.J. Willis, as a wedding gift for his daughter when she married. The Italianate style was frequently chosen by wealthy country landowners of the period who wanted to show off their taste. With its wide overhanging eaves, ornate brackets, large cupola, and extensive porches, the house is historically significant for its architecture as one of the best residential examples of the Italianate style on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.