Photo credit: Jennifer Falkinburg , 06/01/1999

Property Name: Snow Hill
Date Listed: 8/13/1974
Inventory No.: PG:62-4
Location: 13301, Laurel Bowie Road (MD197), Laurel, Prince Georges County

Description: Snow Hill is a 1 1/2-story brick structure with a gambrel roof and a five bay main (east) facade. The shed-roofed dormer windows reflect the bay divisions of the lower facade, as do the segmentally arched basement windows. The double doors with transom light are sheltered by a one-bay gable-roofed porch, the roof of which breaks through the cornice moldings of the eaves and into the lower edge of the gambrel roof. The porch, and an identical one on the west facade, is a reconstruction carried out during a restoration. It replaces a Classical Revival flat-roofed porch. The brick ends of the building have an irregular fenestration. Flush corbeled brick chimneys rise from either gable end. The south end has two doorways, the western one now used as the exterior door and the eastern one replaced by a window during restoration. This eastern door once connected the house to a log kitchen building which had been attached to the south end. Evidence of an even earlier south wing can be seen in the brickwork, the ridge of the roof rising to the bottom of the chimney stack. On the north end wall the lintel of a closed-off basement entrance remains. In plan, the house has a center hall with two rooms on either side. The staircase rises in three turns from an inset in the back of the north hall wall. The second floor hall, off of which four rooms open, is balustraded on the west (staircase) side. The northeast and southeast ground floor rooms are the most elaborate, with corner cupboards with keystone arched openings and cast iron hearths with mantel shelves with molded cornices. In the northwest room, the hearth is brick and the mantel shelf has a dentil cornice below it. A small boxed staircase to the second floor extends into the southwest cornier of the southwest room. Otherwise, the room has been modernized for use as a kitchen. In the attic, the roof framing consists of common rafters with lapped joints at the ridge, with collars lapped over the rafters.

Significance: Snow Hill's significance lies partly in its architecture, being built between 1799 and 1801, and partly in terms of Prince George's County and Maryland State history. It is a very late example of Georgian architecture with several unusual features, including the handling of the corner cupboards. It is also significant for its association with late Colonial and early Republican ironmasters, and one of the founders of an industrial family that in later years ran the extensive mills at Laurel (employing in 1850 over 500 persons). The Snowden family, who had formed the Patuxent Iron Works by 1726 and built the house at Snow Hill c. 1800, also owned extensive landholdings in eastern Montgomery County and through the division of their estates and granting of dowries they played a large role in shaping Montgomery County society.




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