Photo credit: MHT File Photo , 1964

Property Name: Waverley
Date Listed: 8/11/1975
Inventory No.: CH-30
Location: Waverly Point Road, Newburg, Charles County

Description: Waverley is a large two-story brick house. The five-bay, Flemish-bond principal facade of the main block, facing the Potomac River, has a centered, elliptically headed entrance framed by paneled jambs and headed by a leaded fanlight. Within the doorway and flanking the double door are narrow tapered columns and three-pane sidelights. At the base of the fanlight and hidden by a shelf above the door are two small lead figures of a boy and girl, purportedly giving good fortune to those who pass beneath. Flanking this entrance are four large windows of 12/12 lights, with flat arches of splayed stretcher brick. Across the second floor level are five windows of 8/12 sash. Below the first floor windows are four small wood-barred cellar windows. There is no watertable. Toward the end of the 19th century a one-story porch was built across this elevation and traces of its outline can be discerned in the brickwork. A brick entrance stoop now fronts the doorway. The rear (north) elevation of the main block was originally only three bays in width, but a later addition (c. 1823) built against the east end toward the northeast corner extended this facade an additional two bays at both floor levels. Centered on the original wall area is an arched doorway similar in treatment to that of the principal facade except that the arch frames an unornamented board panel. Original brickwork behind this panel negates any possibility that the arch once framed a fanlight. The two flanking windows and the three second floor windows are treated in the same manner as those of the facade. On both elevations the roof cornice is of stepped brick with one course of brick set on the diagonal in a sawtooth fashion. The two first and second floor bays of the addition consist of transomed end doors and adjacent windows treated the same as those of the main block. At the time that the addition was made, a two-story porch with balustraded roof supported by tapered Doric columns was built across the entire rear facade. Mortises for the floor and roof joists of the porch, provided for when the wing was built, but punched into the walls of the main block, document the fact that the addition and porch were contemporary to one another. This porch was removed and rebuilt in the 1960s. Both ends of the main block are of common bond construction, with two windows on each floor level on the fully exposed west end. At each end of the house are two flush chimneys joined by brick curtain walls to a point slightly above the roof peak. On each end of the house, between the top of the curtains and the top of the attic window heads, the initials "MAH" (for Morgan A. Harris) are set in glazed headers. Just above the initials, again at both ends, is a small lozenge, also of glazed headers. It is thought that the curtains, initials, and small diamonds were additions made after the house was first built. The roof is presently covered with slate, but fragments of earlier wood shingles survive in the attic of the main block. At the east end of the house stands a long one-story kitchen-hyphen wing of undetermined age. All interior woodwork is characteristic of the Federal period.

Significance: Waverly is well known throughout the lower Southern Maryland region, not only for its distinctive architecture, but also as the house supposedly built by Dr. Morgan Harris, member of a once prominent and influential family. Although it is now an accepted fact that Dr. Harris did not actually build the house, his influence on its present form establishes a close bond between the two.




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