Salmon-Stohlman House (Clover Crest)
4728, Dorset Avenue, Somerset/Chevy Chase, Montgomery County
The Salmon-Stohlman House is a 2 1/2-story frame structure built c. 1893, and designed in a transitional manner with late Victorian detailing, but with more Colonial Revival-style massing. Generally square in plan with a wraparound porch and projecting side bay, the house sits upon a rubble stone foundation with grapevine joints, and is covered with a wide, gable-front roof. The walls are clad with narrow weatherboard siding on the main block, and with wood shingles in the gable ends and on the projecting bay. The roof, sheathed with slate shingles, features a prominent, brick corner chimney at the northwest corner of the building, with corbeled brickwork. Two other interior chimneys, corbeled, but less elaborate, pierce the east and west slopes of the roof at the south gable end. A hip-roofed dormer with pairs of 1/1 sash windows is centered on either slope of the roof. In addition to the ornate chimney stack, the house offers several other Queen Anne-inspired details, including a wraparound porch, a polygonal projecting bay with a semi-conical bell-shaped roof, and shingled wall surfaces. An original two-story rear wing projects to the south, while a single-story, family room addition extends to the south of that. Other additions to the house include a shed-roofed sunroom that was originally a porch and enclosed in the 1960s or 1970s and that extends across the rear wall of the main block; and a two-story, polygonal projecting bay built on the east side wall of the house, behind the two-story dining room bay window. The north facade is four asymmetrical bays wide. The principal entrance is in the center of the facade, with a 6/1 sash window above, replacing a casement window. Other windows are 1/1 sash, with two of these to the east of the door and one to the west, with the corner chimney occupying part of what would be a fifth bay on that end. The entrance retains its original wood and glass door and single sidelight to the right. Above the second-story windows is a slightly projecting cornice with dentils above a plain frieze board. The wide gable end above the cornice is clad in wood shingles and features a tripartite replacement window tucked under an eyebrow shed. An historic photo of the house indicates that this central window was originally bowed and was supported by wood brackets. A molded raking cornice encloses this gable end. The wraparound porch is set upon brick piers and covered with a half-hipped roof supported by replacement Tuscan columns. As shown in the historic photograph, the original porch had turned posts. The porch railing consists of tightly spaced balusters spanning the porch columns. The interior of the house has an off-center central passage plan. The entry door opens directly into a stair passage with a living room and dining room to either side and a kitchen wing and family room to the rear. The central hall is a wide and generous space with oak floors running the width of the room and bold, bulls-eye corner block trim around the doors and windows. An original quarter-turn open-string stair with turned balusters and heavy, turned newels is located against the west side of the hall, well back from the entry door. The living room is entered via a double-wide pocket door. French doors open from the dining room onto the porch. The northwest wall is chamfered where the exterior chimney is, but there is no longer a fireplace opening or mantel in place. In the dining room to the left of the hall, a fireplace in the southwest corner retains an original wood mantel with brackets and original glazed mosaic tile.
The Salmon-Stohlman House was one of the first houses built in the present day Town of Somerset by Dr. Daniel Salmon, a leading veterinarian at the Department of Agriculture, and one of the original developers of the suburban property. Originally known as Somerset Heights, the suburban town was started in the early 1890s by a group of five scientists, including Daniel Salmon. Built c. 1893, the house is significant for its association with the pattern of suburban migration from northwest Washington to Montgomery County via the streetcar and railroad networks. Built adjacent to three emerging streetcar lines and thus easily accessible to the city, Somerset Heights was founded upon the late-19th century ideal that rejected the congested living conditions of the city, for the bucolic setting of freestanding houses, spacious grounds, and private lawns of the country. The house is also significant for its association with the owner/builder Dr. Daniel Salmon, and long-time resident J. William Stohlman, mayor of Somerset from 1919 to 1938. Dr. Daniel Salmon, one of the five founders of Somerset Heights, was, at the time of the founding of Somerset Heights, an important leader in the field of veterinary science, and is best known today for identifying the infectious pathogen Salmonella, which as named after him. As founding chief of the U.S. Bureau of Animal Industry at the Department of Agriculture, Salmon and four other scientists banded together in the early 1890s to develop a residential enclave or "colony" outside the city limits. The group, referred to as the Somerset Colony Company, purchased a 50-acre tract of land and constructed their personal residences before subdividing the land into building lots and promoting their individual sale as a real estate venture. Salmon lived in the house until he sold it in 1902. John William Stohlman, a Georgetown merchant, owned the house from 1902 to 1947. During his long ownership of the house, John Stohlman served as Mayor of Somerset from 1919 to 1938, and along with his wife, raised a large family of ten children in the house. The Salmon-Stohlman House is also a good representative example of a late-19th century suburban residential building. With its irregular building form, the use of a variety of wall surface materials, projecting bays, dormers, and wraparound porch, the house embraced the principles of the ideal suburban house, including a sense of individual space and a relationship with the natural setting.