Ronald L. Andrews
Phoenix Mill Farm
Smouses Hill Road, Cumberland, Allegany County
The Phoenix Mill Farm house, built c. 1845, is a 2 1/2-story brick structure showing Greek Revival style influences. It is laid in Flemish bond and has a gable roof and double flush chimneys. There are also two internal chimneys between the fifth and sixth bays from the west, perhaps indicating that the two easternmost bays are a later addition. The principal (south) facade is seven bays wide, and has a two-story, three-bay porch with a second floor balustrade and pediment, that was added in the first half of the 20th century. This porch covers the second, third, and fourth bays from the west end. There is a doorway in the center bay on both floors of the porch, which is the third bay from the west end. The principal windows have flat brick arches, narrow frames, and double-hung wooden sash with 6/6 lights. A small wing was added to the west end of the structure. The first floor front door has rectangular sidelights and a transom. A one-story gable-roofed addition is attached to the west gable end. A late-19th century photograph shows the house, unpainted, without the portico. In place of the portico was a one-story, three-bay porch with four plain Doric columns across the front. The windows at that time had shutters, and the window at the easternmost bay of the first floor was then a doorway. The interior has a floor plan with center hall flanked by two rooms on each floor on both the first and second stories. The woodwork of the west side of the main portion is characerized by typical Greek flat pilasters with pediments. The trim throughout the rest of the house is single-face architrave molding, about four or five inches wide. Within the 20 acres of Phoenix Mill Farm is the site of Smouse Mill. Nothing of this site remains above ground.
The house on Phoenix Mill Farm was erected for John Jacob Smouse, who operated the mill. The house is characteristic of Greek Revival domestic architecture that is commonly found throughout Western Maryland. Although the facade was altered with the present large porch, the interior retains much of its original decorative treatment. The site of the former grist mill also included a small store. Power for the overshot mill was obtained from Evitts Creek. In the 1890s, this wheel system was replaced by the roller process. The Smouses also deeded an acre of their land to the County School Commissioners in 1874 and John Jacob Smouse built a school on this land. The building, now a private home on a nearby property, was used as a school until 1902. Phoenix Mill Farm was historically known as Mill Run Farm.