Charity V. Davidson
205-207, S. Potomac Street (MD 65), Hagerstown, Washington County
The Elliott-Bester House is a two-story brick dwelling facing east, seven bays in length, including a two-bay addition at its south end. It is painted yellow and is trimmed with black and white. A two-story four-bay ell extends to the rear or north of the main structure. To this ell is attached an early 20th century concrete block addition which housed the Bester florist business. Set on low stone foundations, the bricks of the original section of the east wall and north gable wall are laid in Flemish bond. Other walls display common bond. A quarter round molded brick water table extends along the façade. The windows, under segmental brick arches, contain 2/2 pane Victorian period sashes. They are flanked with paneled shutters at the first story and louvered shutters at the second floor level. A large store window has been installed in the bays north of the main entrance. The two entrances in the façade are topped with late 19th century bracketed hoods. Wide transoms are present over the doors. The original front door is in the second bay from the north end of the house. Three chimneys are present, of varying size but all with corbeled caps. They rise from inside the north and south gable ends with a large flue projecting from the original south gable end. The slate roof is broken by two projecting gables with carved decorative trim. Other exterior woodwork associated with the eaves is of the Victorian period. The original appearance of the house was altered greatly during the 19th century. Changes to the building include replacement of original windows, frames, and doors, the addition of an entrance in the façade, the construction of the two projecting gables in the roof line at the front of the house, and the addition of the two south bays.
The significance of the Elliott-Bester House lies in its architectural and historic merit. With its remaining original woodwork and interior and exterior detail reflecting 18th century formal design, the house is an excellent example of a dwelling built early in western Maryland's architectural history. Since brick apparently did not become a prevalent building material in Washington County until after 1800, the Elliott-Bester House with a probable late 18th century building date is particularly outstanding. The house derives additional significance from its association with Commodore Jesse D. Elliott who spent his boyhood years there. Elliott is remembered in military history for his distinguished role in the Battle of Lake Erie with Commodore Oliver H. Perry during the War of 1812.