Photo credit: Paul Baker Touart , 05/2001

Property Name: Maddux House
Date Listed: 12/27/2002
Inventory No.: S-160
Location: 9084, Maddox Island Road, Westover, Somerset County

Description: The Maddux House is located on a high ridge of land overlooking the Manokin River to the northwest and Back Creek to the east. The principal facade of the two-story, six-bay, L-shaped frame house faces southeast. The house stands on a continuous brick foundation, and is sheathed with asbestos shingles. The steeply pitched roofs are covered with a layer of tin over wood shingles. Built in three distinct phases, the earliest portion of the house is a two-story, 29' x 20' timber frame structure erected during the last quarter of the 18th century. This portion of the house is the eastern three bays of the main block, which was erected around 1780 on a Flemish bond brick and stone foundation. The wrought-nail frame structure stood unfinished for several decades and was not fitted with interior trim until the second quarter of the 19th century. The 18th century frame structure was finished with Federal woodwork common to the 1820s-30s. Around 1850-60, the dwelling was enlarged to the southwest and northeast with two-story frame additions. The southeast elevation is six bays wide, with an entrance in the third bay from the southwest corner. The mid-19th century six-panel front door is framed by a five-light transom and three-light sidelights. The first and second floor windows hold 6/6 sash windows. Those in the southwest three bays of the southeast facade are surmounted by shallow pediments. The roof is pierced by three interior chimneys, one in either gable end and one in the approximate center. The center and western stacks have two flues each and are distinguished by a dentiled brick cornice. The single flue brick stack at the east end has a dentiled cornice as well. The southwest gable end is pierced by 6/6 sash windows on either floor and two 4/2 sash windows in the attic. Trimming the edge of the roof is a molded bargeboard. The northeast wall is partially covered by the two-story one-room plan rear wing. The section of wall not covered by the wing is pierced by a combination of early and mid-19th century window and door openings. Located in the eastern of the four bays is a 9/6 sash window that lights the one room in the 18th century section. The rear hall entrance is fitted with a mid-19th century six-panel door. The c. 1860 rear wing is four bays long and two wide with an interior chimney. The north gable end holds two small 4/2 sash windows in the attic, and two windows on each floor. Attached to the east side of the wing is a one-story gable-roofed frame pump house. The interior of the house combines elements of 18th and 19th century architectural finishes. The main entrance opens into a wide stairhall with a mid-19th century staircase with turned mahogany newel post and tapered round oak balusters with a ramped handrail. The stringer is embellished with a graceful scroll decoration. Below the stringer are five Greek Revival vertical panels. The eastern portion of the building retains Federal details, while those in the western and rear portions are Greek Revival in style.

Significance: Located on an isolated site on a ridge surrounded by river and marsh landscapes, the Maddux House derives its significance from three periods of distinct architectural change, thereby representing the process of rebuilding that took place in phases across the lower Shore between 1780 and 1860. Encapsulated in this six-bay house is a late-18th century frame structure that was modified initially around 1820-30 with a layer of Federal woodwork. A second and more extensive rebuilding took place around 1850-60. The blend of these architectural forms and finishes reflects the changing priorities and needs of the Maddux family, principally Henry S. Maddux, as he and his wife were influenced by traditional vernacular plans and nationally popular architectural woodwork. The isolated site of the property known as Maddux's Island was developed as a location of export and import during the late 18th century when a road was built across the marsh to access this high parcel of land and the deep water moorings off shore. As a location for the transshipment of local goods and produce, it served the population of Somerset County and the lower Shore during the pre-industrial era when the Manokin River was a principal artery of transportation and communication.




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