Peter E. Kurtze
Nicodemus Mill Complex
20019, Nicodemus Mill Road, Keedysville, Washington County
The Nicodemus Mill Complex consists of a dated 1810 stone house with a mid-19th century brick service wing, the ruins of a c. 1829 grist mill, and an extensive complement of 19th-century domestic and agricultural outbuildings including a stone springhouse, stone-end bank barn, brick out kitchen, frame wash house, and a stuccoed stone secondary dwelling. The main house is a 2 1/2-story five-bay stone structure with a two-story, four-bay brick service wing extending to the rear or north. Since the house is built into a slope, a full three stories are exposed at the front elevation. The walls are constructed of roughly coursed native limestone without arches or decorative masonry at the window and door openings. A large amount of old lime mortar with an inverted V profile remains in the joints. The front wall surface at the ground story has been coated with whitewash. Set high in the gables of the east and west ends are plastered date tablets trimmed with brick. In the east end wall, the tablet is circular, set in a ring of wedge-shaped header bricks. This tablet is inscribed with the date 1810. In the west end the date marker is rectangular with a brick-trimmed, segmentally arched head; near its top are the figures 18 H 10. Both datestones appear to have been refurbished in recent years. Windows and doors are spaced symmetrically in the front wall. Wide window and door frames are pegged at the corners and trimmed with quarter-round backband molding. Windows at the two main stories have 9/6 pane, double-hung sash. The ground-story windows in the north elevation have 6/6 pane sash. Most window frames retain early shutter hardware. The main entrance is located in the center bay, with a four-light transom and a six-panel door which is sheathed on the inside surface with vertical boards, and hung on wrought strap hinges. The principal entrance is accessed from a wooden, elevated porch which spans the entire width of the front elevation. The porch is supported on chamfered square posts between which run a series of three rails. A flight of steps rises from the ground story at the west end. The ground story has two entrances in its front elevation; each is fitted with a batten door, and the doors retain early thumb latches with pointed upper cusps. The roof of the stone section is covered in metal and terminates with tapered barge boards set directly against the end walls. Brick interior chimneys are located at both ends. The rear wing is constructed of common-bond brick, with varying numbers of stretchers between rows of headers. Windows have 9/6 pane sash held within narrow frames. Window openings are surmounted with wide wooden lintels. Two chimneys are located in this wing, one inside the north gable wall and another near the midpoint of the ridge. The northernmost room of the wing has a large cooking fireplace. Also on the property are a brick out kitchen and frame wash house, a large stone-end bank barn with louvered ventilators in the end walls, various minor wooden sheds, the ruins of a stone structure, presumably the mill, a hip-roofed stone springhouse, and a 1 1/2-story stone secondary dwelling with a two-story porch and 6/6 windows.
The Nicodemus Mill Complex is significant as an exceptionally intact representative example of the type of farmstead characteristic of the region during the 19th century. It comprises a stone dwelling dated 1810 and a full complement of 19th-century domestic and agricultural outbuildings, in addition to the ruins of a c. 1829 grist mill. The complex derives additional significance for its architecture. The main house is particularly noteworthy as an early example of vernacular domestic architecture in the county, with outstanding interior decorative detailing, including mantels with reeded trim, doors with six raised panels hung on strap hinges, with architraves with quarter-round backband trim, and an elaborate second-floor mantel with cartouches above the openings and fan-shaped reeding.