Brick House Farm
24870, East Cherry Lane, Ridgely, Caroline County
The Brick House Farm, also known as the Richard Jarrell Farmhouse, stands on a slight rise of ground of 8 acres within a 480-acre farm that was called Benjamin’s Lott when it was purchased by Richard Jarrell in 1823. The house is a five-bay long, two-story brick “I” house with a c. 1970s kitchen addition on its west end. Facing south, the principal section is one room deep, with a corbelled brick cornice and a gable roof with interior brick chimneys rising flush with the wall surface of the gable ends. It measures 41’-8” long by 20’-1” deep. The 1970s section is 22’-3” long x 27’-9” deep with the extra depth carried 12’ across the north façade of the main house, incorporating its westernmost bay. The brick is laid in 5-course common bond. There is neither water table nor belt course, the change of wall thickness being concealed within. Windows are 9/6 on the first floor and 6/6 on the second, with jack arches on all windows including the small basement windows. The central entrance is reached by a 1970s one-bay gable-roofed porch with a brick floor and steps which appears to have replaced one of a similar size. It protects the original door and paneled jambs that rest on a stone sill. The recessed-panel door has six panels that align with the paneled jambs while the 4-pane transom aligns with the uppermost panels of the jambs. The east gable end has no openings on the first two floors, but two small casement windows flanking the chimney. The west gable end is the same apart from the 1970s kitchen wing partially covering the wall. The north façade was originally five bays long, but the kitchen wing overlaps the westernmost bay on both stories. On this façade only one basement window remains below the east window closest to the central door. The other basement window was located below the westernmost window but it was lengthened to serve as the basement entrance from the kitchen wing. Nearly centered on the original façade is an original 6-panel back door without a transom. Like the front door, it has recessed panels, as do the soffit and jambs. A makeshift back stoop extends from the back door giving access from the first floor to grade. Centered above the back door is a window at stair-landing level, while the other first-story windows with 9/6 pane sashes are higher in the wall. Second-story 6/6 windows are placed immediately above each first-floor window. Jack arches appear on the openings on this façade, as well. On the interior, the open-string stair on the west side of the central hall has turned newels and rectangular balusters, two per step, with nearly round handrail having goose-neck ramps above the newels. The handrails from the second story to the attic are straight without ramps that extend from newel to newel. There is a recessed-panel spandrel composed of five vertical panels. Above the panes are simply-shaped ogee step ends. An unusual feature of the landing is a series of applied decorative features each with symmetrical ogee curves similar in shape to a pendant. Original two-piece chair rail remains in place in the hall along with beaded baseboard. The east and west rooms each have a fireplace with an original Federal period mantel with pilasters, plinth blocks, and shelf. Outside are two 20th-century outbuildings, and the Jarrell family graveyard, in which two generations of Jarrells and their children were buried between the 1830s and the 1880s, containing 22 graves. The stones are relatively simple, bearing the names of the interred with dates of birth and death.
Brick House Farm is of local architectural significance as a representative example of a plan and form of building that began to appear on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the late 18th century. Known as the “I” house form, this two-story, one-room-deep, three- or five-bay-wide, symmetrically fenestrated building type occurred throughout the region well into the early 20th century. During the period c. 1820-1850, a corbelled cornice—more common in urban architectural contexts—is a diagnostic feature of brick houses in the region. Brick House Farm is the only five-bay brick “I” house with corbelled cornice constructed in a single building campaign in Caroline County, Maryland. In addition to the unique attributes of the building, it retains original spatial arrangements and the vast majority of its original woodwork from the late Federal period in which it was constructed, i.e. soon after 1823 when the farm was acquired by Richard Jarrell.