Ruthsburg Bridgetown Road (MD 304), Centreville, Queen Annes County
Stratton is a c. 1790 center-passage plan house, constructed of brick laid in Flemish bond, four bays wide and one room deep, with flush brick chimneys centered on each end of a pitched gable roof. Facing north towards the road, the front door is offset to the left (east) of center with one 6/6 sash window to the left and two to the right. There are four smaller 6/6 sash windows on the second floor and two three-light cellar windows. The foundation is of three-course bond with no water table or belt course. The first-floor 6/6 sash probably replaces original 9/6 sash on both the north and south facades. The original front door has been replaced with a four-panel door, but the original paneled jambs and exterior double architrave survive intact. The south facade is not symmetrical with the front facade. The rear door is offset to right of center with one large 6/6 window on each side. There are two 6/6 windows on the second floor, one directly above each first-floor window, and one 3/6 window downset in the center bay. The east and west gable ends are laid in three-course common bond. A pair of small 2/2 attic windows flank the flush chimney on each side, and put-log holes remain visible in the upper gables. The majority of the east gable wall is concealed by the enlarged two-story wing. Originally a 1 1/2-story brick wing, this portion of the building was raised to two stories by the addition of a frame second story c. 1860. The north wall of the wing is set back approximately 15" from the north facade of the main block. The brickwork is laid in common bond and does not appear to be bonded into the main house. There is a wide doorway right of center with a single 6/6 sash window to either side. The door is constructed of vertical beaded boards and has had a single pane of glass inserted for additional light. The second story is of frame construction covered with horizontal weatherboard siding and currently sheathed in vinyl siding. There are two 6/6 windows on the second story, one directly above each first floor window opening. The east gable end of the wing is laid in six-course bond; possibly this section was rebuilt. There are no openings in this wall. The second story is framed with weatherboard siding. A small flush brick stove chimney is centered on this gable. The south wall of the wing is partially concealed by a one-story enclosed porch. The door is offset to the left of center with one small four-light window to the left and a larger 6/6 window to the right. There are two 6/6 windows on the raised second story, one above each first-floor window. The interior is arranged in a center passage plan, with one room to either side of a stair passage in the center. The closed-string stair features a chamfered newel post, molded handrail, rectangular balusters, a carriage facing finished with Federal molding profiles, and a single, large fully raised panel placed below the stringer. An original four-panel door under the stair landing provides access to the cellar stair. Several doors have wrought-iron hardware.
Constructed c. 1790, the brick house known as Stratton derives significance as an exceptional example of the two-story, center-passage plan house type that characterized superior dwellings in Queen Anne's County during the late 18th century. Stratton exhibits several plan features that are unusual for its type, most notably its four-bay-wide facade; most center-passage plan houses are characterized by a symmetrical facade of three or five bays. Another unusual plan feature is a secondary winder stair in the dining room, originally leading to a segregated second-floor chamber accessible only via this private stair. The interior decorative detailing is also noteworthy, including intact Federal architrave trim, original hand-wrought hardware, and original paneling below the stair carriage and in the dining room. Original cupboards in the cellar have arched, beaded doors and hand-wrought hardware; a roster of tenants and occupants of the house survives on one of the cupboard doors, with handwritten names dating back to 1884. Built by a prominent citizen and well maintained for the past two centuries, Stratton exists in a fine state of preservation and is an excellent example of rural living in Queen Anne's County's early history. Queen Anne's County was formed in 1706, and Stratton is one of a number of prominent farms that were developed in the first century of the county's development; it was built just prior to the founding of nearby Centreville, the Queen Anne's county seat.