Jennifer K. Cosham
Point of Rocks Railroad Station
Tuscarora Road (MD 28), Point of Rocks, Frederick County
The Point of Rocks Railroad Station is a Gothic Revival building vaguely triangular in shape with a four-story tower on the apex and a 1 1/2-story wing at the base. The central 2 1/2-story section forms the main block of the station. On both the north and south facades the central section has a hip roof with a pair of jerkin dormers over the second story windows. One of the pair has a gable roof and the other dormer has a hip roof, all decorated with sawnwork "gingerbread" trim. The exterior fabric is comprised of brick with horizontal bands of granite stripping. One band is located just above the foundation, one below the first story windows, one 3/4 of the way up the first story windows, and one below the second story windows. The rear 1 1/2-story wing has no granite bands. However, a raised brick band is located at the same level as the granite band which is 3/4 of the way up the first floor windows. Two wide porches project from the north and south sides of the central section. Large wooden trusses and brackets carved in a geometric, but Gothic, style support the porches. The lancet-shaped windows have alternating granite and sandstone voussoirs. The rectangular window and door openings have straight granite lintels. The first floor window lintels and door lintels connect to the granite bands which are 3/4 of the way up the windows, creating a continuous line of trim. Likewise, a granite band encircles the building at the level of the window sills, also forming a continuous line. The lancet-shaped window opening on the first story of the tower is composed of two lancet-shaped windows and a trefoil cut in wood between the windows. The tower itself has a pyramidal roof containing a dormer on each side. A square cupola atop the tower supports the pyramidal peaked roof. The cupola is decorated with a quatrefoil design cut in wood. The tower roof has several rows of round-shaped shingles interspersed in the rows of square shingles. Clay chimney pots complete the Gothic illusion.
The proportion, detailing, and color of the Point of Rocks Railroad Station is unusually sophisticated for its rural setting and ranks with the most outstanding work of the Victorian Gothic Revival. The polychrome effect produced by the combination of brick, granite, and sandstone is reminiscent of earlier work in England by architects like William Butterfield. The elaborate architecture of the Point of Rocks Railroad Station testifies to the significance of the railroad as the dominant institution in post-Civil War America, especially in small towns. In Point of Rocks, the Baltimore and Ohio depot is the most imposing and elaborate structure. The town was moved to its present site in order to be near the tracks, indicating the depth of control the railroad exercised.