Paul Baker Touart
Polk's Road, Widgeon, Somerset County
Harrington is a two-story, mid-18th century, frame farm house approximately 30' x 30', and with the gable height it approaches the proportions of a cube. Although "remodeling" efforts of the late 1800s and early 1900s resulted in the removal of almost all of the original siding and replacement of the original window frames and sash with Victorian windows, the current restoration (now 90% complete) has reproduced the original beaded siding. The front (south) facade is three bays wide, with a door in the left bay, and large 12/12 windows in the center and east bays. Three smaller 6/6 windows appear on the second floor. The west gable end contains two windows per floor, including the attic gable. The first-floor windows on this end are interpreted as 9/6 sash, while the second floor are 6/6. The north facade has two windows on the second story and a window (east) and door (west) on the first, with a cellar entrance on the east. The eastern gable originally consisted of two small attic windows, two upstairs chamber windows, a lower window, and a door leading from the Warming Room. With the exception of the door, these openings have been altered to accommodate the c. 1890 wing which has been removed and replaced with a wing of compatible architectural design. Unlike the exterior, the interior has remained remarkably intact. Approximately 90 to 95% of the original paneling and other woodwork remains. Entry through the broad front door reveals the passageway paneled with fielded paneling to dado level, a characteristic of the Great Room to the right and a small northwest room interpreted as a study. Exposed, beaded beams characterize both the upstairs and the down, although evidence suggests that a downstairs plaster ceiling was applied within the 18th century. Upstairs woodwork consists of a chair rail and baseboard.
Harrington's two-fold significance is found both in its inherent architectural merit and in the role played by the builder, Thomas Holbrook, in the history of Somerset County. One of the very few existing two-story frame 18th century farm houses of the area, Harrington visibly illustrates several unusual architectural features, possibly representing connecting links between urban and rural Georgian building styles. Available records indicate that the land on which the house was built was patented to a Thomas Holbrook, relative of the builder, in 1682 and remained in the Holbrook family for over 120 years. Thomas Holbrook, described in contemporary records as a "planter" and "gentleman," was apparently active in the civic affairs of Somerset County. He was Deputy Commissioner of Somerset County, a Vestryman of Stepney Parish, and in July of 1775 was one of those from Somerset County who signed the Declaration of the Association of Freeman of Maryland. A minor Revolutionary incident occurring on the property and recorded in the Archives of Maryland (1781) serves to illustrate a part of the day-to-day life of the Colonial militiaman.