MHT File Photo
Easton Historic District
Easton, Talbot County
The Easton Historic District is an urban district that covers most of the core of Easton, a town on the Maryland Eastern Shore that has a population of about 7,000. The district contains approximately 900 buildings and structures arranged along a grid pattern of streets and alleys and is primarily residential with the Central Business District located in the western section near the Talbot County Courthouse on Washington Street. Although the town of Easton was founded in the 18th century, the majority of the buildings in the district, which includes the earliest portion of the town, date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Less than a dozen buildings are documentable to the 18th century, only about 50 to the early 19th, and somewhat less to the mid 1800s, reflecting an economic decline in the history of this period. These buildings are concentrated primarily along Washington, West, Harrison, Goldsborough, Dover, South, and Aurora Street. The highest proportion of the buildings are of frame construction, dating to the mid 19th to early 20th century. Masonry, mainly brick, construction is found primarily in the 18th and early-19th century buildings, public structures such as churches and government buildings, and the buildings in the predominately commercial area, many of which were originally residential and later converted for commercial use or multipurpose originally. The buildings reflect most of the major stylistic influences that characterize American architecture through the 19th century and into the 20th. The earliest definable style is the Federal which is clearly visible along Washington Street and is generally marked by heavy masonry flat arches. What Greek Revival is present tends to be combined with the Italianate that more or less dominates the fabric in the mid to late part of the century. The Queen Anne mode is the predominate mode of the last third of the 1800s. The early decades of the 20th century are characterized by the Colonial or Georgian Revival style (several excellent examples stand along Washington, Harrison, Hanson, and Aurora Streets below Brooklets Avenue) and bungalows scattered throughout the residential areas to the south of Dover Street and the east of Hanson Street. The decorative fabric is further marked by examples of the Gothic Revival (mainly churches), Second Empire, and Shingle styles. Most of the commercial district, principally rows of adjoining brick structures, was built in the 19th century. There are also several rows of early 20th century storefronts. The majority of 19th century commercial buildings are located on Washington Street by the courthouse and on Dover Street in the first block east of Washington. Early 20th century store rows are located on Dover Street between Aurora and Higgins and on Goldsborough in the block east of Washington Street.
The Easton Historic District consists of the core of the town of Easton and is significant for the collection of 18th, 19th, and early-20th century buildings which 1) record the development and status of Easton as the governmental, commercial, and social center of Talbot County; 2) include several excellent and well-preserved examples of the major stylistic influences that characterize American architecture up to the early 20th century; and 3) contribute through their juxtaposition and variety of design and materials to several streetscapes that retain the basic environmental qualities associated with life in small urban centers at the turn of the 20th century.