Photo credit: KMS , 01/2006

Property Name: Graystone Lodge
Date Listed: 8/30/2007
Inventory No.: HA-1259
Location: 1118, Bel Air Road, Bel Air, Harford County

Description: Graystone Lodge is a c. 1781 stone building with a mid-19th century frame addition, sitting close to Bel Air Road on a site that slopes steeply down to a small stream on the north side of the building. Graystone Lodge is a 2-story, six bay by one bay rubble stone structure with quoining at the corners and at some of the openings. The stone appears to primarily be a local granite, and most of it has been repointed with a Portland cement mortar. The roof is of standing seam metal with an interior chimney on both east and west gable ends. Windows are typically 8-light casements with a lintel consisting of a keystone between two large stones. The west-west-center bay has a segmentally arched opening with stone voussoirs, containing a six-panel door with 12-light sidelights over single panels, and paneled jambs, but the soffit is missing. There is plywood infill above the door. The east-east-center bay also has a segmentally arched opening with stone voussoirs, but is narrower and shorter than the west-west-center bay. The door matches the former, but the top of the door and the top panels are segmentally arched. The sidelights have eight lights over one panel, and the top lights are also segmentally arched. The doorway also has paneled jambs, but the wood soffit survives on this doorway, with three panels which match the jambs. There is a brick patio in front of each doorway. The second story is only five bays, with the openings set between the bays of the first story. The center bay has segmentally arched stone voussoirs that are wider than the window opening. There is a wood box cornice. The east elevation of the stone section has no openings on the first or second stories. There was a window opening in the attic gable, which is now filled in with stone, with the brick chimney above constructed with 20th-century pressed brick. There is a porch on the first story that wraps around the north elevation, which is five bays wide. The east-center bay holds a six-panel door with paneled soffit and jambs and a large keystone between two large lintel stones, like the windows on the south elevation. The center bay contains a window opening which may have been cut in later. A one-story porch covers the east three bays. The second story has no opening in the east bay, a 6/6 sash in the three center bays, and a pair of 6/6 sash in the west bay. The west elevation of the stone section is parged on the first story, south of the frame addition. The attic gable has a window opening south of the chimney that has been filled with stone. The chimney is old brick that has been repointed. To the west is a two-story frame addition, two bays by one bay with a standing seam metal roof and both interior and exterior brick chimneys on the west end. On the south elevation of the wing, the first story west bay has a six-panel door which appears to date to the 20th century. There are sidelights with four lights over one flat board. The east bay has a 6/6 sash window. There is a one-story porch with a brick deck, the eastern end of which has been removed. The second story has a pair of one-light casements flanking two fixed one-light sash. The west elevation has no openings on the first or second floors, but a basement bulkhead entrance. Both chimneys have 20th-century brick, and the exterior chimney brick appears to post-date World War II. The north elevation has aluminum siding and a wood box cornice. The first story has a pair of one-light casements flanking a single fixed light. The second story has T1-11 siding with windows matching those on the second story south elevation of this addition. The east elevation has a pair of four-light casements with infill above. The second story has no opening. On the interior, the first story of the stone section is completely open, with the floor in the west half raised one step above the east half. The flooring has all been replaced. The east and west walls have exposed stone fireplaces. That on the east has a stone hearth, a firebrick firebox, and plain wood mantel. There is exposed stone on the east and west walls, drywall on the south, and plaster on the north wall of the east half and drywall on the north wall of the west half. The second-story joists are exposed. The windows in the east half have plain mitered architrave with rounded corners and a paneled soffit and jambs with two panels on each. The door architrave matches the windows. There is a straight run of stairs on the north wall that ascends to the west and cuts through the north elevation center-bay window. The stair has an open stringer, square, tapered balusters, and a molded handrail that turns at the bottom around a narrow turned newel post set inside a ring of balusters. There are oak treads and risers. The west fireplace has splayed stone jambs and a stone hearth. There is an iron lintel and a modern damper has been added. The opening could have been lowered about 1 foot, based on the joints. To the north of the fireplace is a doorway with a paneled soffit and jambs that each have one panel with a sunken field and no panel molds. The windows in the west side have plain jambs. The addition also has new flooring, which is several inches lower than where the original flooring was. The east wall of the addition is exposed stone. The west wall contains a brick fireplace with splayed jambs. The bottom of the firebox is about 7" higher than the current floor. There is no hearth. There is a splayed brick jack arch, and there was once a wooden mantel, but only the nailing blocks survive on each side of the opening and above it. The back wall, to the north, has an arched recess with parged brick and a fake oven door sitting on the ground nearby that has no hinges and was never functional. There is a patch near the top of the chimney indicating a former stove pipe. The southwest corner of the room contains an enclosed winder stair, now with drywall around it, and the door is missing. The second story of the stone section has a passage that runs east-west along the north side of the building, with one chamber along the east, two chambers to the south of the passage, a chamber in the southwest corner, and a chamber at the west end of the passage.

Significance: Graystone Lodge is architecturally significant as a representative example of a pre-Civil War coachbuilder's shop, which embodies the distinctive characteristics of high-quality Quaker craftsmanship in its stone structure. The property derives additional significance for its association with the development of transportation, both through its 19th century function as a coachbuilder's shop strategically located to serve travelers on the Baltimore and Harford Turnpike, and through its conversion in the 20th century to a motor lodge and restaurant catering to the growing automobile traffic on American roads. The earliest portion of the building has been dated, through dendrochronology, to c. 1781. The property was sold in 1946, effectively ending its longstanding historical function as a travel-related service establishment.