MHT File Photo
Tuckahoe Road, Hillsboro, Caroline County
Daffin House is a large, 2 1/2-story c. 1780 brick structure with a two-part, 1 1/2-story c. 1760 brick wing on its east end. The initial stage of construction is believed to comprise the east section, now the wing. Built of brick laid in Flemish bond, it has a dormered gable roof, one central interior chimney, and one chimney at the east end of the roof ridge. The principal (landward) facade is four (originally five) bays wide, but the first two bays in from the southeast corner are positioned several feet lower than the remaining two bays. This difference in positioning can be accounted for by the fact that there is a cellar beneath the west half of this wing, while the floor of the east end is at ground level and contains the kitchen. Although the changes in floor level in such a small house would suggest different periods of construction, no physical features can be discerned to substantiate this theory. A door on the west half of the building between the two windows was removed and the opening bricked during a 1930s restoration of the house. Fenestration on the 1 1/2 story portion of the building is irregular, and the windows have a variety of sash combinations including an 8/8 sash window in the center dormer on the north facade. The later main block of the house is five bays wide with a central entrance, wide bracketed cornice, and large bracketed pediment on either facade. This pediment holds a Palladian window on the east (landward) side and a bullseye window on the river side. The east facade first floor openings are surmounted by bracketed pediments, and the entrance is covered by a one-story pedimented entrance porch. Flush chimneys rise from either gable end of this portion of the house. Original details include splayed brick arches over the windows and doors (most of these hidden by existing wide surrounds), a projecting brick belt course extending across all four sides of the house between the first and second floor levels, and the large pediments and cornice. Many of the embellishments date to the mid 19th century. The room configuration of the c. 1780 addition consists of a wide center hall flanked by single parlors. The same arrangement exists on the second floor. Apparently in about 1825-1835, the woodwork contemporary to the construction date of the main block was removed and replaced by handsome architraves, doors, mantels, and baseboards in the Greek Revival style.
The main block of the Daffin House was constructed around 1783 by Charles Daffin who received a patent for the land in 1784 under the name of Daffin’s Farm. The c. 1760 part of the house is typical of the two-room, 1 1/2-story houses built in the 18th century by the small planters on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This particular example is noteworthy for the high quality of its brickwork and structural detail. The interior woodwork, probably installed in the 1780s, is well executed and completes the rooms. The main block illustrates the successful combination in one house of the original architectural style with later alterations in other styles. This section exhibits Georgian and Federal details. Embellishments added in the Victorian era were done tastefully and enhance the building’s appearance. A Greek Revival interior installed during the first half of the 19th century is proportionately scaled to the rooms and harmonizes with the house.