Back River Neck Road, Essex, Baltimore County
The Ballestone Mansion, located on Cedar Point between Back and Middle Rivers in Essex, is presently a part of the Rocky Point Park and is owned by Baltimore County. The house, built during the late 18th or early 19th century, has been enlarged twice. The original portion was of two floors each measuring 20.2’ by 17.5’ or approximately 350 square feet per floor. A major addition of one floor was built adjacent to the northwestern gabled end. Being 20.6’ by 24.6’, this increased the first floor by 506 square feet. The total floor area was increased by about 1,362 square feet circa 1870-80 by the placement of a second story above the addition. The original three-bay portion of the house, and all of its additions, are brick except for a concrete block shed attached to the rear of the oldest part. The brickwork is of no distinct type on any elevation. The original roof had a pitch of greater than 45 degrees. The original rafters were lapped at the ridge and pinned together with pegs. Collars held them with a dovetail joint. When the second floor and 2-story porch were added circa 1870-80, the roof pitch toward the front was diminished significantly to form a roof for the porch. The cornice of the new full-length porch has an ogee cove molding, saw-tooth dentils, and squared brackets. Three dormers were also added in the Victorian expansion. The front entrance of the house is in the third bay from the left, including a full width transom light and two raised panels below. When the door was enlarged, an original jack arch was removed and this space covered by a framing member of the second floor porch.
Ballestone Mansion is one of the few farm-related buildings to have survived in this area of rapid 20th-century development. The house has had a long life full of alterations. Although part of it was built circa 1800, little of this now remains, and the house as it stands today is illustrative of the large farmhouse of the 1870s and 1880s.