Photo credit: Carrie Schonig , 08/2004

Property Name: Moreland
Date Listed: 8/11/2005
Inventory No.: M: 35-154
Location: 7810, Moorland Lane, Bethesda, Montgomery County

Description: Moreland is a 2 1/2-story Colonial Revival frame dwelling constructed c. 1894. The house has a modified square plan, a complex hipped roof, and a full-width front porch. The exterior walls are finished with narrow (4 1/2") beveled siding, the roof is covered with gray slate tile and features a flat peak, and the foundation is built of uncoursed rubble stone masonry. Three chimney stacks of corbeled brickwork pierce the slate roof. The windows are typically the original rectangular 6/6 double-hung sashes. Facing east, the entry porch consists of a narrow-plank wood floor set on replacement brick masonry piers, covered by a flat, balustraded roof. Defined by eight freestanding columns, the entry porch extends across the front of the house and is recessed into the house at its sides. The main entrance is located within the north end of the recessed front porch. The first-story wall is pierced by two windows, flanked by the porch recesses on the north and south. The second-story wall contains four bays, arranged directly over the first-story openings, resulting in a wider space between the central windows on both floors. Above the second-story windows is a slightly projecting cornice with a wide, plain frieze board and modillions at the eaves. Two pedimented 6/6 sash dormer windows pierce the hipped roof on the east side, and are separated by a tall, brick chimney shaft. The principal entrance features the original 12-light paneled door with 3-light sidelights and a rectangular tripartite transom. The south end of the first-story recess is also pierced with an entrance, used as a secondary entry, with the original paneled door and a transom, but no sidelights. The north facade is four asymmetrical bays wide, and features a prominent wall dormer at the attic story. The first story is divided into four bays, one within the recessed porch at the east end of the facade. The second-story fenestration does not align directly with that of the first-story, and has five windows, one a central 6-light casement set low to align with the sash of the flanking windows. Above the second-story windows, a continuous flat band molding forms a common architrave across the facade. The wide frieze and modillions at the eaves continue from the east facade and are interrupted by the wall dormer projecting off-center at the attic story. The dormer is clad in beveled siding framed by fluted wood moldings at its edges and moldings at its triangular pediment gable. It contains two side-by-side 6/6 sash windows. The western bay of the facade is recessed to include a small porch set on brick piers, enclosed by rectangular piers an a plain balustrade, and covered by a flat roof. An early two-story wing addition projects to the west, connected to the house by a short two-story passage. The symmetrical west facade consists of one-bay recessed corners. The central three bays project westward, covered by a projecting hipped roof. The end bays of this projection contain 6/6 sash windows on the first and second stories, while the center bay is pierced by the two-story, flat-roofed hyphen connecting the main block to the wing. Above the hyphen, a gable-roofed dormer window with paneling and moldings at its gable end pierces the gray slate tile of the westward- projecting hipped roof. The south facade is asymmetrically composed of fenestration and a recessed porch. The front wraparound porch continues on the south facade as a recessed two-bay-wide piazza that extends flush with the second-story wall above. The porch features three freestanding columns and one engaged column. There are two 6/6 windows within the porch, in the two eastern bays, and two in the western bays. The second story contains three asymmetrically spaced windows. The top of the wall is finished with the continuous frieze and modillions at the roof eave. A dormer window projects from the center of the roof. The west wing, two stories high and two bays on each facade, was constructed before 1931, and possibly before 1910. A c. 2002 restoration project replaced a significant portion of this wing's north facade, and restored the wing to match historic photos. On the interior, extensive recessed paneling embellishes the walls and wide Greek moldings surround the doors and windows. Original features such as restrained mantels featuring Classical Revival moldings, decorative swags, or Classical Revival column supports surround the three original fireplaces. The wood floors on each of the house's three levels are original.

Significance: With its hipped roof and full-width porch, Moreland is an excellent example of an early Colonial Revival house from the 1890s, exhibiting the Classic Box type of this style. The columns of the front porch, the symmetrical facade, a continuous cornice, and the prominent wall dormer on the secondary northeast facade reveal Neoclassical influences. Exaggerated detailing, such as a cornice with a wide blank frieze and modillions, and dormer pilasters, are signs of a skillful interpretation of the Colonial Revival style. At the same time, the influence of the Queen Anne style--another popular style for domestic architecture during this time--is evident in Moreland. The house's deep massing, featuring recessed porches and shallow side wings, and its lack of strict adherence to symmetry at the north facade (in contrast with the principal, east, facade), reveals the subtle, but lasting influence of eclecticism and variation of the Victorian-era Queen Anne style. Moreland's well-crafted assembly of these styles and influences makes it a skillful representative of domestic architectural history from the 1890s. Moreland represents a brief period during the late 19th century when the rural environs just beyond the City of Washington's borders attracted wealthy D.C. residents to build their ex-urban retreats in the picturesque farmland of Montgomery County, Maryland. As the summer residence for Washington, D.C., businessman and former District of Columbia Commissioner Samuel E. Wheatley, Moreland was among a handful of country houses build before widespread development in the early 20th century transformed Bethesda's bucolic landscape into an automobile-centered suburb of the District. Moreland is significant as an unusual survivor from the pre-suburban period of Bethesda's history when it was a mixture of farmland and summer retreats, and for its high degree of integrity as a fine example of an early Colonial Revival-style dwelling. The house was under the ownership of the Wheatley family from 1894 until 1944. The history of the house provides keen insight into the development of Bethesda and its evolving real estate trends during the late 19th century, as well as the construction of an urban businessman's summer retreat in the rolling hills just beyond Washington's northwest border.




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