Kenneth M. Short
14610, Frederick Road (MD 144), Cooksville, Howard County
Roberts Inn is located northwest of the intersection of the old National Pike (MD 144) and Roxbury Mills Road (MD 97). The complex consists of a c. 1808 stuccoed stone house with a reconstructed log wing, and several 19th-early 20th century agricultural outbuildings including a frame bank barn, a frame ground barn, a tile dairy, and a frame silo. Facing south, the house is a 2 1/2-story, three-bay by one bay stuccoed stone structure covered with an asphalt shingle roof. There is a wing on the west that is recessed about 10 feet. It is two stories tall, and three bays long by one bay wide, with stuccoed stone walls on the north and south, a frame or log wall with aluminum siding on the west, and a gable roof with an east/west ridge and asphalt shingles. The south facade contains the principal entrance in the west bay, consisting of a six-panel door with a paneled soffit and jambs, and a three-light transom. There is a large granite stoop in front of the door, and a flagstone porch with an iron railing now surrounds it. There are two granite steps that appear to be original and have been moved out in front of the new flagstone porch. The center and east bays have 6/6 sash windows, while the second story holds three smaller 6/6 sash. There is a molded wood cornice and two gable-roofed dormers with segmentally arched 6/6 sash windows and an interior brick chimney on the east gable end. The west elevation of the main block has a six-panel door that matches the south elevation on the first story, near the southwest corner. The attic gable has aluminum siding with a four-light window. The south elevation of the wing has a six-panel door with paneled soffit and jambs and a four-light transom. The door is flanked to either side by a tall 2/2 sash window. The second story has three smaller 2/2 sash windows. The west elevation of the wing has aluminum siding over German siding, with a 2/2 sash window on the first story and a 6/6 sash window just south of center on the second story. The attic gable has a central 6/6 sash window. This siding may hide a former fireplace. The north elevation of the wing is partially covered by a one-story log structures added recently. The north elevation of the main block holds two 6/6 sash windows on the first floor and three 2/2 sash windows on the second. The only opening in the east gable end is a small opening with horizontal round iron bars in the south bay and a similar opening with horizontal square bars in the north bay at the cellar level, and a small attic gable window. The first story has a center passage, double-pile plan that was built in two stages, with the west end preceding the passage and east end. The house retains much of its original woodwork and hardware.
Roberts Inn is historically significant for its association with the development of transportation in the Central Maryland region during the 19th century. The construction of the house coincided with the extension of the National Pike through the Cooksville area. Documentary and architectural evidence supports its use as a turnpike tavern from an early date. Tradition holds that Lafayette breakfasted at Roberts Inn during his 1824 tour of America. Roberts Inn derives additional significance for its architecture, as an example of a type of property that functioned as a turnpike tavern during the early 19th century, and which was subsequently converted to domestic and agricultural use as economic conditions changed later in the period. The property continued to evolve into the early 20th century, as additional outbuildings were constructed reflecting improvements in agricultural operations, and it continues to function as a dairy farm.