Harry L. Burnett, Jr.
West Denton Warehouse/Wharf
10215, River Landing Rd., Denton, Caroline County
The West Denton Warehouse/Wharf is an early-20th century timber-framed warehouse structure situated along the west bank of the upper Choptank River in West Denton. The West Denton area was a commercial maritime center and transportation hub which included wharves, granaries, a flour roller mill, a shirt factory, canneries, maritime warehousing, and related agricultural/maritime industries. The current structure is rectangular in shape (40' x 160') with the long dimension parallel to the river. The earliest section is the 40' x 100' center portion. The north (40' x 20') and south (40' x 40') additions were built in the 1940s. The framing of the structure includes 16 bays, with each bay consisting of heavy timber posts supporting a 40'-clear span "king rod" truss. After the additions were made, the warehouse contained two offices, one at each end of the building. The south office was finished with pine wainscoting and contains a small wing with sliding windows that opened onto the main warehouse floor. The office located at the north end of the structure contains a chimney and wood stove. The warehouse is a single-story structure with an average clear ceiling height of 8' in the oldest surviving portion, 8' in the south addition, and 10' in the north addition. The clear height (bottom of truss to concrete floor) was originally 11'-4", however, the floor elevation was raised to 8' above mean sea level (to minimize the potential for flooding) when the north and/or south additions were constructed.
The West Denton Warehouse/Wharf is historically significant for its association with maritime commerce on the Chesapeake Bay. Wharves and warehouses like this one represented the nodes of communication and transportation for goods and people to the rest of the tidewater region before a reliable network of roads and rails were established. The property derives additional significance as a representative example of a type of structure which served various functions in connection with waterborne commerce. Of the scores of such structures that once served the navigable waterways of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay tidewater region, this structure is one of only two remaining riverfront warehouses in Maryland.