Michael O. Bourne
Goldsborough Neck Road, Bantry, Talbot County
Facing southwest towards Goldsborough Creek, Myrtle Grove consists of a frame section dating from the first half of the 18th century, a 1790 brick section, and a 1927 frame wing. The oldest section, in the center, is five bays wide and 1 1/2 stories tall. Sitting on a brick foundation laid in English bond, the house is covered with beaded clapboard (wood shingles cover the steel) gable roof. In the central bay is the entrance with its wide, ten-panel door. Framing the door is a simple molded architrave with a five-light transom. Each of the other bays contain a 9/9 sash window with thick muntins. Each window has three-panel shutters. In the roof above are three dormers, one above the entrance and the other between the two windows on each side. All have 4/4 sash windows. On the northwest end is a large brick exterior chimney now enclosed by the new wing. A tall inside end chimney on the southeast rises above the roof of the brick wing. The northeast side is identical to the southwest facade except for a porch, supported by six square posts, which covers the entire first story. In 1790 a large brick wing, four bays wide by three deep, was built on the southeast end of the original house. In addition to the raised basement it has two stories plus an attic under the low-pitched gable roof. The house is constructed of brick laid in Flemish bond and has a molded brick water table on the southwest and northeast facades. A modillion cornice surrounds the house and also continues along the barge on both ends. On the southwest facade the entrance is in the third bay from the southeast end. The beautiful doorway is framed by fluted pilasters with full entablature. A triangular pediment with both modillions and dentils surmounts the delicate fanlight above the wide, six-panel door. The doorway also has louvered shutters and the porch has a wood railing. There are two windows to the right and one to the left of the door. The second story also has three windows, one above the door and above each of the two right windows. All the windows have 9/9 sash and shutters, three-panel on the first story and louvered on the second. Above each window is a rubbed and gauged brick lintel. Below the right windows are louvered windows in the cellar. The southeast end has two windows near the corners of the first story and three on the second. Two inside end chimneys rise between the center and outer bays. Centered in both the southeast and northwest gables are large oval windows with very delicate curved muntins. Above the gable cornice is a one-course belt. The northwest end has no windows other than the one in the gable. Under the porch roof of the original section is a door into the brick wing. Near the northeast corner is a cellar entrance, also with a lintel of rubbed and gauged brick. This batten door retains its original iron strap hinges. The wood box lock has iron trim. The northeast side is three bays wide and lacks a window between the entrance and the northwest corner. Otherwise the fenestration is identical to that on the opposite side. A graceful, curving iron railing decorates the steps. The fanlight over the door is "blind" with the plaster from the stairway landing visible through the glass. The 1927 wing is 1 1/2 stories and is also of beaded clapboard. It is two bays wide with a 6/6 light window in each bay and dormers above the windows. This wing is a successful addition to the older sections.
Myrtle Grove is unusual in that it is still owned by the Goldsborough family, the same family that had it built in the 18th century. Myrtle Grove is an excellent example of the successful combination of early and late 18th century styles. It contains some beautiful paneling and plaster work, and a beautiful, delicate, stairway. It also retains a great deal of the original hardware. The sophistication of the house reflects the position of its owners.