Photo credit: Mary Jane Kaehn , Spring, 1975

Property Name: Knocks Folly
Date Listed: 6/17/1976
Inventory No.: K-114
Location: Turner Creek Road (MD 448), Kennedyville, Kent County

Description: Janvier House, or Knocks Folly Farm, is an unusual combination of a small, 1 1/2-story, mid 18th-century log house with a three-story, Federal brick wing. The log portion, on a stone foundation, is covered with wide beaded clapboard and has a shed roof extending from the dormer window sills over a large brick-paved porch. It is a true 1 1/2 story structure, having walls that continue above the second floor joists, and dormer windows set directly above the wall. There is a large, square brick chimney in the center of the building with baffle to deflect the rain from the flues. The fenestration is irregular, having a single six-panel door onto the porch and one window in each of the two rooms with 6/6 sash and two-panel shutters. There are two doors on the east side, one on the south, and a window on the north gable. There are two dormers on each side of the gable roof, a single window on both gables, and a vent to the supra-attic. Architecturally, the brick portion of the house is more significant, being a good example of Federal architecture with well executed detail. A one-story porch with tin ogee roof extends across the three-bay facade. The entrance on the south side of the west facade has a fine architrave with fluted, entasized pilasters, paneled jambs, and a series of gougework, rope, fluted and drill-hole carving beneath the semi-circular fanlight with swag muntins. The pediment above the fanlight was removed when the Victorian porch was installed, but stored in the attic where it still exists. Its detail has the same refinement as the other parts of the architrave. The main cornice has shaped modillions and a fascia consisting of gougework rosettes separated by vertical rows of drill-holes. The facade is laid in Flemish bond and the other sides in common bond. The sash decrease in height on the second and third floors, there being 12/12 on the first, 8/12 on the second and 8/8 on the third, each with louvered shutters dating from the Victorian period. Two flush chimneys centered on the gables give even more height to the tall house. The south chimney is decorative. Two small, four-pane casements flank the chimneys in the gables. The north gable wall also has two windows on each story, probably placed for the superior view over Turners Creek and the Sassafras River. The basement entrance is located on the east side of the building.

Significance: Knocks Folly is an unusual combination of a mid-18th century log building and a turn of the 19th century brick townhouse. The 1 1/2 stories and steep gable roof slanting sharply into a porch of the earlier, vernacular structure contrast dramatically with the narrow verticality of the three-story, Federal style building. This difference is a reflection of the economic situation and social status of the men who built the two structures. Architecturally, the log house is dated to the mid 18th century. In the records, no improvements are mentioned in the patent and it seems likely that the building was constructed c. 1753. Because the property was owned by nonresident merchants, it is probable that this part of Knocks Folly was built by a tenant farmer. The brick house, on the other hand, was constructed by the family of a very wealthy merchant, and its Federal style reflects their prosperity.




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