Photo credit: MHT File Photo , Undated Photo

Property Name: Norris-Stirling House
Date Listed: 5/30/1979
Inventory No.: HA-153
Location: 903, Ring Factory Road, Joppa, Harford County

Description: The Norris-Stirling House, or Mt. Pleasant, is comprised of an early 19th century stone section and two later frame additions. Outbuildings include a large frame bank barn and corncrib, a stone springhouse, and a garage. The original section of the house is three bays by one room deep. It is constructed of uncoursed fieldstone with a slate roof. Its front and rear elevations both consists of an entrance in the north bay with two 9/6 windows in the south bays of the first floor. Over the plainly trimmed, recessed door is a four-light transom. Flanking the entrance, reveals carved with three panels echo the pattern of the six-paneled door. On the second floor, three 6/6 sash windows are aligned with the three openings below. The gabled dormer window was probably added after the first addition was constructed to admit light to the south attic room. Two casement windows, in the peak of the north elevation, illuminate the other small attic room and stairway. There is an interior end chimney of brick at the east end of the stone section. A doorway cut through the south end of the chimney wall of the original section leads to the first addition, constructed later in the 19th century. A lean-to addition and double-tiered porch were added in 1936.

Significance: The Norris-Stirling House is an early 19th century farmhouse with a later 19th century addition and small 20th century addition. The original section of the house is a small stone structure typical in style of early 19th century stone architecture in Harford County. The quality of craftsmanship on the interior is unusually fine and well preserved for a house of this type in the area. Much attention was given to the design and execution of the open string stair with halfpace landings. Opposite these two landings, the well is terminated in a quarter circle which lends simple elegance to the lines of the stair. The balusters, square at the bottom and round above, are delicately proportioned, as are brackets along the string course. The division of a second story rear window by a stair landing is functional as it illuminates two flights of the stair and retains the symmetry of the exterior elevation. The first floor wooden mantel is carved with plain pilasters, topped by a frieze with torus molding and a simple mantel shelf. The mantel on the second floor is also classically inspired but is more simple in its execution. Six-paneled doors throughout the original section are identical to the one of the front entrance. They have brass box locks which were present when the house was purchased in 1936. One of the attic doors has a wooden box lock. The original walnut floors also remain throughout the original section. Outbuildings, including the stone springhouse, frame bank barn, and corn house are evidence of the agricultural activity which supported at least three generations of the Norris family. The property consists of pasture, in addition to its wooded areas, enhancing the farm setting of the complex.




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