Photo credit: C. Engstrom , 08/1977

Property Name: The Reward
Date Listed: 5/6/1976
Inventory No.: K-90
Location: Walnut Point Road, Johnsontown, Kent County

Description: The Reward is a three bay long, two bay deep, two story, brick dwelling which appears to have been constructed in the 1740s. Its east facade is laid in Flemish bond with glazed headers above a basement of English bond. The other three walls are English bond. Wood grills following the contour of the segmental arches are replacements of original work. Above the two basement windows, the watertable steps up to accommodate the segmental arches, like several houses in Chestertown. The watertable is a single brick deep with both ovolo and cavetto moldings. Although the house is three bays long with a central entrance, the entrance is off-center. There are segmental arches of lightly rubbed brick above the first story openings of the south half of the building; the remaining have jack arches. A belt course between stories is interrupted by the back window of the second story and is terminated where it joins the rear slope of the catslide roof. The lower elevation of the rear rooms is suggested by the step in the water table. Original door and window frames in the front portion of the house are made of walnut. The sash are replacements of the original with the exception of the transom above the original four foot wide entrance door. The windows have 12/12 sash on the first story front portion and 6/6 sash elsewhere. The flush chimneys pierce the apex of the roof at the gables and have sloping shoulders and withes, indicating the interior flues. The rear of the house has only two windows on the first story and two dormers in the long catslide roof. Formerly a door was located in the center of the facade where one of the windows is now located. On the north gable of the house and connected to it for only half its depth is a 1 1/2 brick kitchen wing, constructed for the Johnsons in the 1930s. North of it is a one story, porch-like structure built for the Whites in the late 1960s. Much of the basic boxwood planting was done during the 1930s and 1940s. The terrace and garden and most of the other landscaping has been accomplished since 1970.

Significance: Chiefly, The Reward is important because of its unique architectural qualities. It is a vernacular structure, but it possesses a self-consciousness not usually associated with vernacular structures. These qualities are undoubtedly the result of the creativity of its owner/builder, Charles Tilden, who was listed as an architect when contracted to build a 60' x 40' church for the vestry of I.U. Church in 1766. The term "architect" is rarely used in this period and this is the only time it has been found in Kent County to date. The two residences pertaining to his capability for design suggest Tilden to have been an unusually gifted person.




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