MHT File Photo
Tammany Lane, Williamsport, Washington County
Mount Tammany is a two-part brick structure resting on low fieldstone foundations. The main block is a two-story, three-bay structure with a side hall entrance. Attached to its north gable wall is a two-story five-bay structure also of brick, but much lower in height than the main section. Apparently the wing was originally 1 1/2 stories high. The walls of the main section of Tammany display Flemish bond brickwork at the front or south elevation and the east end wall. American or common bonding is used at the north and west elevations. A water table of quarter round bricks extends along the south and west walls. The entire surface of the house has been painted white. Prominent wall decoration at the front elevation consists of flat arches of cut stone with large keystones. Flat arches of brick are present above other windows. Windows at the first story of the front elevation have been enlarged into French doors. Above them are openings with 12/8 light sash, and a 12/12 pane sash is used at the first story in the east end wall. A small circular window is set in each gable. Original windows in the wing have 9/6 light sash. In both sections most windows are flanked by louvered shutters. The main entrance is located in the easternmost bay of the front elevation. It has trim similar to that of the windows and is topped with a broad, four-light transom. Extending across the front elevation is a one-story porch with a low hipped roof, supported by round Doric columns. The eaves at the front elevation of the main section are finished with modillions under which runs a course of small dentils. At other elevations the eaves treatment is more simple. A large brick chimney is located inside the east gable end. A smaller, more recent furnace flue is attached to the west end wall, and another brick chimney is located inside the east end of the wing.
Mount Tammany is believed to have been built in the 1780s by Matthew Van Lear, a prominent early resident of Washington County. The property remained in the hands of his descendants until 1928. The Van Lear family was related to William Findley, Governor of Pennsylvania, and Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States. Known throughout its history as a "Country Mansion," Tammany is a rare example of an 18th century brick dwelling in Washington County, and one that contains unusually elaborate exterior and interior decorative detail. The interior woodwork is elaborate, some appearing to date from the late 18th century and some from the mid or late 19th. Door architraves displaying crossettes or "ears" at their upper corners are among the 18th century details of the house. Later work includes the French doors and arched fireplace openings trimmed with acanthus leaf cartouches.