3308, Rosemary Lane, Hyattsville, Prince Georges County
Ash Hill is a two-story brick building erected c. 1840 on a high brick foundation. It is a square structure with 12" thick brick walls. The facade is five bays wide with a central doorway with transom and sidelights. The 12' high flanking windows are large double-hung 6/9 sash, opening to the floor of the porch across the facade. The center window of the second floor is also 6/9 sash, while the other second floor windows are 6/6. The windows are all topped by jack arches, and have louvered shutters. The wooden cornice is boxed above a frieze and dentiled bed molding. The crown molding is an exaggerated ogee. At the peak of the roof is a belvedere with a bracketed boxed cornice, fifteen feet square. Two flush chimneys rise from each gable end. The porch across the front extends around either side. It has Doric columns supporting an entablature of frieze and cornice. The present porch is an addition. The rear facade is similar to the front, with a central doorway with a transom light and to one side a tall narrow opening with a casement sash of three lights. The plan of the house is similar on both floors. There is a central hall extending through the house, flanked by two large rooms on either side. The fireplace in the kitchen has a pine mantel of very plain Greek Revival design. Original woodwork and pine floors are intact throughout. There are Victorian marble mantels with arched openings in the dining room and in the parlor across the hall. Both the parlor and the library behind it have bold Victorian plaster cornices. In the library, there is a dumbwaiter which connected that room to the original kitchen below. The central dog-leg stair is Victorian, with a heavy newel and ramped rail of cherry. The springhouse, east of the main house, is a square brick building with a pyramidal roof with slate tiles and a cupola at the peak. A brick carriage house stands in the north yard.
The significance of Ash Hill, or Hitching Post Hill, is three-fold, including its architecture, its landscape architecture, and its historical associations. The house was built c. 1840 by Robert Clark, an Englishman who was seeking space and quiet in contrast to the crowded city of Washington. In 1875, General Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a pioneer (as surveyor and government agent) in the southwest and owner of Decatur House on Lafayette Square in Washington, bought the property from Robert Clark. Beale entertained President U.S. Grant, a close personal friend, President Grover Cleveland, and Buffalo Bill Cody here, among others. Grant kept his two Arabian horses, Leopard and Linden, stabled here. The original paintings of the horses hang in Decatur House, and copies hang at Ash Hill. The house, with its 12" thick brick walls and hilltop site, is an imposing one, made even more so by the massive pillared porch which surrounds it on three sides. This latter feature was added by Admiral Chauncey Thomas who purchased the property in 1895.