George W. McDaniel
19700, Mulberry Fields Road, Valley Lee, Saint Marys County
Mulberry Fields is a large 2 1/2-story, 5-bay by 2-bay, hip-roofed brick house constructed in all-header bond. The south elevation, overlooking the Potomac River, has a large central entrance door flanked at each side by two 9/9 sash windows with louvered shutters. On the second floor level the window and door placement is the same, but the central door is a 19th century alteration and the windows only hold 6/6 lights and have paneled shutters. All the windows are headed by segmental brick arches and have carved masonry sills. The hip roof has two gable-roofed dormers with 6/6 sash windows on the south facade, framed by large chimneys positioned toward the roof ridge on the east and west hips of the roof. Between the first and second floor levels is a brick belt course terminating approximately one foot from the corner of the building. The modillioned eave cornice is wood, painted white; and the five cellar windows have segmental brick arches and grilles of wooden bars. A very prominent feature on this elevation is a c. 1820 two-story Doric portico, which covers the central three bays of the five-bay facade. At the north elevation (garden side) the house displays more simplified features. The fenestration and door placement is largely the same as on the south elevation, except the second floor door which remains as a window. The north entrance portico, covering only the entrance bay on the first story, is of Doric style with a simple unadorned pediment and tapered one-story columns. All windows on this facade have paneled shutters, and the north slope of the roof is pierced by three gable-roofed dormers with 6/6 sash windows. The west elevation is two bays wide, with the same window types as on the north and south facades, all with paneled shutters. The east elevation is covered by a 1 1/2-story gable-roofed brick wing of five-course common bond brick. This wing is three bays wide, and has undergone some changes to its fenestration on the north facade. On the interior, the center hall and two south rooms have walls of rectangular raised panels with chair rails. The staircase has three sets of risers, delicately turned balusters, a channeled rail terminating in a scroll at the newel post, and carved step ends. Many mantels, moldings, and doors are intact throughout the house. Outbuildings include two dependencies, placed perpendicularly to the house, on the north side. These one-story Flemish bond brick structures are three bays wide and have exterior chimneys at the north ends.
At the end of a long, private driveway stands the only remaining Georgian "mansion-type" home in an area which once boasted several such structures. The panoramic view of the Potomac River to the south, the mile-long allee stretching downhill to the riverbank from the south side of the house, the large boxwoods and the brick dependencies placed in formal positions, engender continuing admiration for the respect and dignity of a long-past mode of planning, building, and living. The one mile long allee presents the optical illusion of two parallel rows of trees. This is produced through a unique planting scheme, deliberately fanning the position of each in order to produce an actual triangle and a parallel effect. The apex of the triangle is the south side of the house. The rows continue without a break to points to the east and west of the apex on the north side of the Potomac River bank.