Mitchell House, Elkton
131, East Main Street, Elkton, Cecil County
The Mitchell House is a side passage townhouse built c. 1769-1781 by Dr. Abraham Mitchell, a physician from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It shows fine original detail characteristic of both the early and later periods of the Georgian style in America. This 2 1/2-story house, three bays wide and two deep, sits on a high basement with a watertable. On the exterior, white stucco over brick simulates ashlar masonry. There are wooden flat arches with large keystones over the southeast (front) first-floor windows. These lower windows have paneled shutters, but those of the second floor are louvered. The entrance occupies the left-hand bay. Fluted pilasters at the front entrance support a partial entablature with dentils over a rectangular transom. The doorway is covered by a small porch with a split-stair and slender Tuscan columns supporting a flat roof and granite steps. The gable roof has a wooden cornice with large modillions that extends around all sides forming a pediment in the gable ends. Each of the rooms of the first and second floors has a fireplace. An interior chimney served all four fireplaces, of which three remain open. Originally there was an arcade extending from the rear of the main house to a two-story kitchen. The kitchen has been remodeled and incorporated within a two-story addition that replaced the arcade. To the rear along the northeastern property line is a two-story carriage house now used for law offices.
The Mitchell House is significant for its association with Abraham Mitchell, a physician who came to Elkton from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in the 1750s, and leased one of the lots in Elkton, then called Head of Elk. It is possible that between 1769 and 1781, when he moved his family to the property he had purchased at Fair Hill, that Dr. Mitchell built on this lot the brick house today bearing his name. In the years after he settled in Cecil County, Dr. Mitchell's practice expanded to include parts of Cecil and Harford Counties in Maryland and New Castle County in Delaware. This extended practice brought sufficient income for him to invest some of his money in real estate. He bought 300 acres in the Elkton vicinity and took up farming in addition to medicine. By 1783, he had 5 slaves, 20 head of cattle, 5 horses, and 630 acres of land. During the Revolution, he opened his home in Elkton (the Mitchell House) as a temporary hospital for the Continental Army, and for this the Maryland apse in Valley Forge Chapel is dedicated to him. He was a founder of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland in 1799. Dr. Mitchell sold the property in 1790, but it passed back into the family's hands in 1859, and they held it until 1935.