Jeffrey A. Wyand
William Chapline House
109, West Main Street (MD 34), Sharpsburg, Washington County
The William Chapline House is situated on the north side of Main Street in Sharpsburg, forming the northwest corner of the town square. The structure is a 2-story, 5-bay stone dwelling. A 2-story, 5-bay shed roofed brick addition extends to the rear or north. The front elevation of the main section employs finely coursed local limestone while other elevations display less carefully cut rubble stonework. All windows are topped with flat stone arches. Several stones in the east gable were dislodged during the Civil War Battle of Antietam when a cannister shot struck the building. Alterations in the masonry of the front and east elevations suggest possible changes to the house. It appears that the south end window of the east elevation was converted from a door and that the door in the east end of the front elevation was originally a window. All major windows have 6/6 pane sashes, and probably date to the mid-19th century. Original wide window frames joined with wooden pins remain at the attic level. The main entrance, located in the center bay of the front elevation, is elaborate, consisting of double four-paneled doors surmounted by a broad transom with numerous rectilinear panes. The doors are flanked with plain Doric pilasters supporting an entablature. Like the windows, the entrance piece would appear to date to the mid-19th century. The wrought iron entrance porch is present in a late 19th century photograph of the house. The secondary entrance in the east end bay of the front elevation is said to have been installed by Dr. A. A. Biggs during the mid-19th century to provide access to his office. The stone doorstep is incised with his name. Other entrances are located in the rear elevation and in the addition. The roof is covered with sheet metal and terminates with a bargeboard set directly against the end walls. Large stone chimneys finished with corbels are located inside each gable end. The eaves treatment consists of a course of decorative cornice work trimmed with a row of carved dentils just above the upper story window arches. The common bond brick addition holds 6/6 windows. At the rear of the property is a small brick stable, its end walls pierced with geometric brickwork ventilators.
The William Chapline House is significant for its architecture, and for the role it played in the growth and development of Sharpsburg, and for its association with two of the area's physicians, particularly Doctor Augustin A. Biggs, who occupied the house during the Battle of Sharpsburg in September, 1862. Architecturally, the house is important as a well documented example of Washington County's late 18th century domestic construction, retaining a significant portion of its original woodwork. Although the five-bay, center-hall plan is typical of many of Washington County's stone structures dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the William Chapline House displays a degree of fineness of execution not apparent in many other houses. Most of the alterations this house has received appear to have occurred during the mid-19th century, and are significant as expressions of that period as well as being linked with the role the house played during the Civil War.