Photo credit: Merry Stinson , 10/2002

Property Name: Rockledge
Date Listed: 12/18/2003
Inventory No.: WA-I-142
Location: 13535, Foxfire Lane, Hagerstown, Washington County

Description: This two-story limestone farmhouse stands on a hill overlooking Little Antietam Creek. It was built in three stages, beginning in the early 19th century. This portion of the building faces east, where an old road was once located. This three-bay original structure is joined by a two-bay addition to the south, forming a five-bay center-hall facade with an interior brick chimney at either end. The third stone section extends westward from the center of the rear of the house. This section has a porch along the south side and an exterior stone chimney at the west gable end. The side walls were raised from one to two stories in brick construction in the mid 19th century. An attached, frame one-story summer kitchen was added to the northwest corner of the third stone section. The summer kitchen's exterior stone chimney at the west gable end features brick shoulders and a brick stack. A porch shelters the entrance on the north side. A two-story shed-roofed frame addition enclosed the area between the stone sections and the summer kitchen in the 1950s. Wood shingles cover the roof, and stone foundations underpin all parts of the house. The building's 6/6 sash windows and paneled shutters are modern reproductions. With few exceptions, the window frames are pegged and trimmed in original ovolo molding. Two long narrow stones span each window head. The original main entrance to the house, with a three-light transom, is reached by a set of stone steps. On the interior, the staircase, with simple straight newel posts with tapered caps, straight balusters, and a curved handrail rises along the south wall of the stairhall. The step ends are undecorated. The living room's south end fireplace retains its original tall plastered Rumford firebox. A reproduction surround, shelf, and raised paneling were built to replace a mantel which was not original. Some features, including a bookcase, a built-in cupboard, and a window seat, were added recently. Board-and-batten doors, some original and others reproduced to match, are found throughout the house. Beaded boards were recently added to the interior of the front six-panel door for insulation and security, as was often done in the late 18th and early 19th century. Interior architraves in the two front sections of the house are trimmed with reverse ogee moldings with a beaded edge. Several windows are finished with ovolo moldings. The living room's south front window may have been the last to be converted from a doorway, as it features mid-19th century Greek ogee trim. Raised panel wainscoting has been added to fill the wall space between the original beaded baseboards and chair rails that encircle the rooms. The original floors are intact: oak in the original house, pine in the addition. The stone rear wing, now used as a den, once served as the kitchen. Its south wall has a central board-and-batten Dutch door with an attached window to the west and another to the east. There are two corresponding windows at the second floor level. A window is located to the right of the fireplace. The large stone firebox has been reduced in size and finished in brick. The exterior chimney rises in two stories, tapering to a brick stack above the attic level. Four-pane attic windows flank the chimney. The frame addition and summer kitchen are covered with board-and-batten siding. A small 8x8' brick smokehouse with a pyramidal roof and original meathooks is located 12' north of the house. A stone springhouse is set in the hillside just above the creek. The stone walls have been rebuilt and a gable roof added.

Significance: Rockledge is significant for exemplifying the limestone architecture typical of rural Washington County in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The abundant limestone resources of the Cumberland Valley defined a vernacular building tradition that was specific to the region. Rockledge retains sufficient integrity to stand as a representative example of this regional building tradition. Unlike the majority of surviving limestone houses of the period, which are relatively large buildings constructed in a single building campaign, Rockledge was built in three sections during the early 19th century. This process of enlargement reflects the economic status of the owner. The limestone sections are joined by an attached frame summer kitchen, probably dating to c. 1879, with the original cooking fireplace with stone and brick chimney and a root cellar below. The original stone springhouse and brick smokehouse complement the building.




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