Michael F. Dwyer
10908, Old Marlboro Pike, Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County
Melwood Park, built c. 1750, is a 7-bay, 2 1/2-story Flemish bond brick structure. The south facade and the east and west gable ends have been covered with stucco, scored to resemble ashlar masonry. The principal entrance is in the center bay of the south facade. This doorway has paneled reveals and a narrow transom. First floor windows are 16/16 sash, while the six windows on the second floor, not aligned with the first-floor openings, are 9/9. First-story windows are surmounted by segmental arches, still visible despite the stucco. Some second-floor windows retain louvered shutters. The house has a water table with a rectangular profile and a belt course three courses wide separating the first and second stories on the south facade. Exterior chimneys stand at either gable end, flanked by windows on each floor. The north facade is only 1 1/2 stories high, due to the unusually steep roof slope on this side of the building. A large rear wing, now removed, once covered the central portion of the north facade. When this was removed, the space was filled with clapboards. The remainder of the wall is of Flemish bond brickwork with glazed headers, and has not been stuccoed. A one-story frame addition with a small central chimney now extends from the north elevation. Interior decorative detail reflects both the colonial and Federal periods, and includes particularly fine paneled walls and reveals.
Melwood Park was built c. 1750 by Ignatius Digges, and raised to its present irregular 2 stories by his widow c. 1800. This unique dwelling was visited by George Washington on several occasions. The British Army camped here during their march on Washington in August 1814. Melwood Park is significant for its early owners, some of the most prominent men in all phases of the life of colonial Maryland. The Digges, Carroll, and Lee families were all associated with the property. Ignatius Digges left the property to his second wife, Mary Carroll, during her lifetime, and then to his grandson, Ignatius Digges Lee, who was the son of his daughter Mary. Mary was the daughter of his first wife, and had married Thomas Sim Lee, later Governor of Maryland. However, Ignatius Digges Lee predeceased his grandmother, Mary Digges, as did both of his parents. The real estate of Mary Carroll Digges was disposed of by appointees of the court, and Melwood Park was sold to William Pumphrey c. 1825. The building is also significant for its unique architecture. The asymmetry of the windows on the main facade indicates the two stages of construction.