Kenneth M. Short
5843, Oakland Road, Sykesville, Carroll County
The Bennett-Kelly Farm is a mid-19th century farmstead consisting of a stone and frame house, a stone mounting block, a stone smokehouse, a frame bank barn, a frame wagon shed, a frame chicken house, a concrete block dairy or tool shed, and a stone springhouse. Facing north towards Oakland Road, the original mid-19th century stone section of the house is three bays wide and two stories high, with the principal entrance in the east bay. This entrance is covered by a one-bay Greek revival pedimented portico with Doric columns. The entrance consists of six-panel door with paneled soffit and jambs, and a three-light transom. Windows are 6/6 sash with imitation shutters. The west gable end of this section has no openings apart from two small windows flanking the flush chimney at the attic level. The north bay's 4-light window has been replaced with a louvered vent. The south elevation of this section also has an entrance in the first-floor east bay, but with no transom. All three bays of the first floor are sheltered by a shed-roofed porch on turned posts, which is in a deteriorated condition, missing its floor. All windows are 6/6 sash. Attached to the east gable end of the stone section is a 3 bay by 3 bay c. 1905 frame section covered in stucco. Its gable roof lies perpendicular to that of the stone section, and the first story of its east facade is covered by a semi-enclosed shed-roofed porch. The north gable end of this section holds three 6/6 sash windows with imitation shutters on the first two floors, and a tripartite window in the attic gable, consisting of a single 6/6 sash window flanked by 6-light windows. Each of the smaller windows have a single shutter. This section projects one bay to the north of the stone section. The west facade of this addition holds only a second-floor 6/6 sash window. The south gable end of the stuccoed frame section of the house holds three 6/6 sash on the first floor, although the central window is shorter. The second floor has no opening in the west bay, and 6/6 windows in the center and east bays. The attic gable holds a single 6/6 sash window. All have imitation shutters. The east facade of the frame section has two 6/6 sash windows on the second floor above the enclosed porch, in the center and south bays only. Also with imitation shutters. The frame section has no chimney. A small gable-roofed cellar entrance stands at the southeast corner of the house, against the south wall. On the interior, the stone section has a side-passage, single-pile plan, with a two-run stairway along the east wall of the hall, turning at a landing on the south wall and continuing north to the second floor. The stairway has rectangular balusters and a turned, tapered newel post. The 3/4-round handrail is ramped, and the open stringer has a bead on the bottom edge. The bottoms of the newel posts have squat pendant drops. Interior moldings in the stone section favor Greek ovolo moldings and paneled doors. The fireplace in the west wall, now fitted with a wooden stove, has a wooden mantel supported by Greek Doric columns. The second-floor mantel is more elaborate, with paired, fluted Ionic columns with a swag to each side containing fruit and flowers. The mantel has a dentil bed mould and a cavetto and bead on the edge of the shelf. The mantel is most likely a later addition. The frame addition is divided into two parts by a central partition wall. The north room contains a stairway with square balusters and a paneled newel post with square cap along the east wall. A door in the east wall consists of four lights over two horizontal panels. The southeast room is a modern kitchen with a linoleum floor and drop ceiling. A small vestibule and pantry are partitioned off from the room along the west end.
The Bennett-Kelly Farm is significant for hits architecture, as an example of a type of family farmstead that characterized rural agricultural Carroll County from the mid 19th century through the early 20th century. Its compliment of outbuildings illustrate the evolution of farming practices in the period. The property derives additional significance for its documented association with the use of slave labor, and subsequent operation by a single woman, two aspects of social history that were rare in 19th-century Carroll County. The stone section of the house was constructed c. 1840, probably by Wesley Bennett, a prosperous farmer. The symmetrical moldings with corner blocks, the "Clark" door hinges, the lancet-profile window muntins, and the ramped handrail together suggest a date of c. 1840-1860. Bennett died in 1875, and the property was divided among his daughters, with Caroline Bennett receiving the house. Caroline died in 1909, and her estate indicates that the frame addition had been constructed by this time. Construction details and trim on this section are clearly from the early 20th century, c. 1905-1930.