Daniel C. Church
Williams Point Road, Shelltown, Somerset County
Williams Point Farm, or the Reward, is a 1 1/2 story gable-front brick dwelling with a steep gable roof with two diamond shaped chimney stacks piercing the east slope of the roof. The stacks join at the top two courses and rise well above the roof peak. The main block of the house is three bays wide and two deep and constructed of whitewashed brick laid in Flemish bond. The south gable end, overlooking the Pocomoke River, has a center door with a single window, 12/12, in each flanking bay. The three gable windows are tall and narrow, having 9/9 lights. Above these windows the gable is covered with white clapboard. The north end has two windows in the second story and the same clapboard treatment in the gable. To the north is a 1 1/2 story wing attached to the main block by a hyphen. The north end of this wing is Flemish bond brick and the east and west sides are beaded clapboard. Two small, 2/2 light windows in the gable flank an inside end chimney with one of its bricks bearing the date 1794. There is one dormer on both the east and west sides of the wing and two on the west side of the main block. The main block has a double parlor and a stair hall, each with a corner fireplace. The fireplace in the east parlor has two reeds in the pilasters and end blocks. The center tablet has two small squares of herringbone-patterned reeding, each surrounded by reeded concentric squares. In the west parlor the fireplace also has two reeds in the pilasters. The end blocks have a reeded herringbone motif and the center tablet has an Adamesque over sunburst with incised five-point stars in the spandrels. The fireplace in the stair hall is very simple with some reeding.
Two diamond shaped chimney stacks give the Reward, or Williams Point Farm, unique architectural distinction in Maryland; no other building has been found in the state with this type of chimney. What is almost as unusual as the discovery itself is that the date of these chimney stacks is as late as 1794, if the carving on the kitchen chimney is an indication. The diamond stack, meaning a chimney stack or shaft set diagonally on its base, originated in medieval England. In the late 16th century it seems the unusual chimney stacks were set square or diamond-like, and were built singly or in groups. The Reward is fortunate in having both types of shaft on the main house: a single square stack on the west side, and twin diamonds on the east.