MHT File Photo
Friendship Valley Farm
950, Gist Road, Westminster, Carroll County
Friendship Valley Farm was established by Joshua Gist in the late 18th century about that time a 2 1/2-story T-shaped main house was built of brick on a stone foundation. This house has gone through a series of changes before attaining its present form. In the third quarter of the 19th century a symmetrical wing and inset double-tiered porches were added completing the H-plan of the present house, and the gambrel roof was rebuilt to a gable form. Other alterations are indicated by blocked-in windows and surface alterations on the brick surfaces. During a 1937 remodeling, stucco was removed from the exterior walls and the roof was again rebuilt to a higher pitch. The main façade faces northeast. The outer wings have a single bay with sash windows while the inset hyphen has six bays with entrances in the second and fifth bay on the second floor and windows in the other bays. The porch is supported by square wood pilasters and the second floor wood railing has small square balusters. The southwest elevation has a similar double-tiered porch but different fenestration. The old wing has windows identical to those on the main façade, but the new wing has two windows to each floor. The main floor of the hyphen has a central doorway flanked by a window to one side and a three-bay window to the other. The second floor has two windows irregularly spaced and a doorway in the end bay. The gable end of the original wing has a double chimney which protrudes from the exterior surface of the wall in one large well on the first floor and then rises to form two narrow stacks--one rising to each side of the ridge. Chimneys also exist at each end of the hyphen and there are two in the new wing--one central and one on the interior of the rear side of the gable end. Sources state that there were once a number of outbuildings to the estate. One of the small log cabins still standing near the house was once a slave cabin and later used as a smoke house. This cabin has saddle notched corners with wide chinking. A large brick wash-house and summer kitchen built in 1860 stands behind the main house off the present kitchen. This building is two stories in height and has a bell tower on the roof.
The architectural changes that have occurred at Friendship Valley Farm display the development of an early building remodeled in stages to suit the needs of later owners. This is a characteristic of many American buildings which were converted to changing tastes as well as enlarged to accommodate family growth. In Friendship Valley Farm, the building's design was easily adaptable for providing additions to the house, and in the process of rebuilding many of the original features were untouched. The final H-shape plan of Friendship Valley Farm is the only example of this floor plan in Carroll County, even though it is a form that had a long tradition in England. The evidence of the original layout seems to indicate that the building was planned to be an H-shape, although it was not completed until the 1860s. Friendship Valley Farm's architectural significance as an example of the development of a transplanted H-shape house form in America is further enhanced by the details that remain from the original house. The texture of the wall surface is marked by smooth, unevenly sized bricks, some as long as 22 inches, that were fired on the estate. The wrought iron hardware includes strap hinges on the batten doors and a door latch that locks on the inside by a bolt and on the outside by unscrewing the handle. The interior has 4-6" wide oak floor boards and molded chair rails. The mantelpieces are carved wood of various designs; the mantel in the second floor hall has interesting gouged provincial ornamentation.