Photo credit: P. Kurtze , 6/13/2008

Property Name: Woodland Hall
Date Listed: 12/10/2008
Inventory No.: K-144
Location: 13111, Shallcross Wharf Road, Kennedyville, Kent County

Description: Built c. 1782 and referred to during the 19th century as “The Mansion”, the first period portion of Woodland Hall had a 31’ x 37’, two-story main block, with a 4’ x 20’, two-story brick side wing. To the rear of the wing there was a 27’ x 18’ 1 1/2-story kitchen wing of log/plank construction. The early house had a side-passage, double-parlor plan, uncommon in Kent County. In addition to the side hall and two parlors in the main block, the plan provided a passage and dining room in the brick wing, and a kitchen and pantry in the plank wing. The southwest facade of the brick wing retains the original six-panel entry door and trim, 9/9 sash, and paneled shutters. The early front facade can be detected by the Flemish bond brick which extends above the second-floor windows. There is a two-course Flemish bond belt course between the first and second stories, but no water table. Cellar window openings retain splayed brick arches. In 1840, the farm was sold to James Freeman Woodland, who undertook an extensive remodeling of the house c. 1857-58, influenced by the Italianate style which was then popular throughout the Upper Eastern Shore region. The house was raised to three stories with a nearly flat hipped roof trimmed with a bracketed cornice. Porches were constructed across both facades; the window openings were enlarged throughout the main block, and those on the first floor were altered to French doors. A “captain’s walk” with a balustrade was added atop the main section. Around 1950, the porches were reduced in size, and the first-floor French doors and second-floor windows were altered to 12/12 sash. The third-floor openings retain 6/6 sash from the 1857-58 period. The addition of a third story required alteration to the stair, and the entire run was replaced with a new stair featuring an octagonal newel, turned balusters, and handrail all fashioned from walnut, and a carriage decorated with scrolled step ends. Rococo cast-iron mantels were installed in the parlors; the one in the front parlor is particularly noteworthy for its reverse-painted gilded (“verre eglomise”) decoration. The dining room in the wing was fitted with a new mantel. A fourth bay was added to the wing, with a lattice-enclosed bathroom on the ground floor, served by a cistern in the upper story, representing an exceptionally early appearance of indoor plumbing in Kent County. Evidence of mid-19th century landscape design survives in the picturesque gardens, curving drive, and asymmetrical groupings of trees and shrubs. An allee lined with some 80 maple trees lines the approach from Old Locust Grove Road. A rectangular, gable-roofed frame shed is located immediately north of the house, and dates to the 20th century.

Significance: Woodland Hall is architecturally significant as an example of an Italianate-influenced country residence, typical of the mid 19th century in the Upper Eastern Shore region of Maryland and adjacent Delaware. During that period, the region’s rural economy underwent a reordering that is reflected in a group of large three-story Italianate-influenced farmhouses. Woodland Hall is distinguished among the Italianate farmhouses of the region by the quality of its decorative detailing. The cast-iron mantels in the parlor are especially noteworthy; one of these features extremely rare verre eglomise panels.




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