J. Richard Rivoire
Cedar Grove Drive, Welcome, Charles County
Facing south, surrounded by large shade trees, Cedar Grove is a three-part house in the late Federal style consisting of a 2 1/2-story main block with a two-part east wing. All three parts of the house were built at the same time and are of common bond brick construction with headers every sixth course. The principal facade of the main block is three bays wide. The entrance door, framed by a 3-light transom and sidelights, occupies the first bay from the west end. The remaining two first floor bays and the three second floor bays frame windows of 6/6 sash. On the north (rear) side the fenestration repeats that of the front except that the first second floor window from the west end is positioned about 18" below that of the other two in order to align it with an interior stair landing. The rear door has been replaced with one having four panes in its upper half. The lower sash of the first floor windows have been replaced with two-pane sash. On the west end there is a single window centered at each floor level including the attic. The second floor, however, has two windows, the other located between the center window and the southwest corner. In the partially exposed east end there are two windows in the gable and a single, off-centered door at the first floor level. The gable roof runs east to west with two flush gable chimneys at the east end. On the front roof slope are three pedimented dormer windows with 6/6 sash. Centered on the north slope is a single pedimented dormer. The eave cornice is of corbeled brick with one course laid in a sawtooth pattern. The roof and dormers are presently sheathed with composition shingles, replacing the original wood shingles. The two-part east wing begins with a 1 1/2-story section at the west end, two bays wide on both side elevations. Above the first floor openings are small eyebrow windows. The remaining area is of one-story height, three bays wide on both sides. Both parts of the wing have shed roofs sloped to the south with tin over earlier wood shingles. On the north side the brick walls are capped with a soldier course; on the south side both walls rise to a sawtoothed, corbeled cornice. Centered on the east wall of the wing is a narrow, flush stove chimney. All openings are headed by splayed flat arches. There are several farm related structures proximate to the house, including two large barns, a small cattle barn, and several sheds.
A plain yet attractive Federal-style brick house, Cedar Grove has both architectural and historical significance in its local context. Built c. 1854 by Francis Boucher Franklin Burgess, the present Cedar Grove replaced an earlier two-story frame dwelling of similar plan that stood on or near the present site. Basically late-Federal in styling (a house plan regionally popular here from about 1800 to 1860), the house built by Francis B.F. Burgess is of interest for several reasons. It is one of the very few substantial brick houses built here between 1845 and 1880, a period during which the county experienced extreme economic instability. The house is nearly unique in that the two-part east wing is original to the 2 1/2-story main block. The wing is of further interest for the design of its roof, the only known example of its form in Charles County. Many of the features of the house suggest a similarity to another Charles County house, Green's Inheritance, built by Francis Green in 1851. It is possible that since Francis Burgess and Francis Green were political associates, they employed the same contractor, G.A. Henisler of Baltimore. The house today is essentially the same in appearance as when it was built, and it is one of the very few buildings that retain all of their original interiors. As one of a handful of mid-19th century structures and the home of a local political figure, Cedar Grove warrants designation as an architectural and historic landmark of regional importance.