MHT File Photo
Commodore Joshua Barney House
7912, Savage Guilford Road, Jessup, Howard County
The Commodore Joshua Barney House is comprised of three sections: the original 2 1/2-story brick house built c. 1760, a 2-story frame addition built in 1941, and a one-story frame addition to the west, built in 1946. The original part of the Barney house is almost square in plan and has three bays on each facade. The house has a hip roof and a central chimney. The front or east facade contains the entrance in the south bay. Small round-arched dormers on the east and south faces of the roof are replacements for earlier, flat skylights. The north facade is laid in common bond, while the other three are in English garden wall bond with a decorative header brick course separating the first and second stories of the south elevation. Windows are 6/6 sash, surmounted with splayed jack arches. Over the central bay on the north is a brick pediment with a lunette window. The entrance with a recessed six-panel door is located in the south bay of the east facade. It has paneled reveals, a fanlight within a rectangular recessed space, and is flanked by sidelights separated from the doorway by about one foot of brick. The sidelights are covered with diamond patterned decorative wrought iron grates, and both doorway and sidelights are covered with splayed jack arches. Onto the south end of the building, a hip-roofed frame addition was made in 1941. This two-story wing is two bays long and one bay deep, and a tall narrow chimney rises from the intersection between the wing and the original house. In 1946, a one-story hip-roofed frame addition was made to the west side of the building. The interior of the house was altered during the 1940s when it was used as a boys' school, and about 1960 when it was converted into apartments.
Likely built by the Ridgely family c. 1760, the Joshua Barney House is primarily significant for its association with Commodore Joshua Barney, who was the hero of two wars and retired to his home in Elkridge after his marriage to Harriet Coale in 1809. Captured three times in the Revolution, Barney was exchanged once and escaped twice. In the War of 1812, he again volunteered and with his forces stood between the British and the nation's capital at the Battle of Bladensburg. He retired again to Elkridge in 1815 after 41 years in the Navy, but three years later decided to move to Kentucky. En route he became ill and died on December 1, 1818. The original structure, three bays wide, three bays deep, and 2 1/2 stories high with a central chimney, is also significant for its architecture. One notable architectural feature is the decorative brickwork found in the first floor splayed brick flat arched lintels, the English garden wall brick bond and the decorative brick course separating the first and second floors of the south facade. The interior has interesting woodwork and floors of random width 2-4" to 6" wide boards. A spiral stairway was taken out during the late 1950s or early 1960s when it became a rental unit with one-room apartments.