Photo credit: Natalie W. Shivers , 04/1979

Property Name: Liriodendron
Date Listed: 9/27/1980
Inventory No.: HA-229, HA-230
Location: 501, 501-502, West Gordon Street, Bel Air, Harford County

Description: The Liriodendron estate is comprised of a circa 1898 Georgian Revival mansion, Liriodendron; a circa 1835 classically influenced house, the Graybeal-Kelly House; a circa 1835 bank barn; a circa 1898 carriage house; a circa 1850 board-and-batten cottage; and five other outbuildings including a corn crib, a smokehouse, two ice houses, and a shed. The mansion, located at 502 West Gordon Street in Bel Air, is reminiscent of Newport, Rhode Island houses in its dramatic grandeur and setting, and was designed by the Baltimore architectural firm of Wyatt and Nolting in the Georgian Revival style. Set on a raised stone foundation and constructed of stuccoed brick with a low-pitched hipped roof, the T-shaped house is 2 1/2 stories. The seven-bay by two-bay main block faces basically west. Spanned by a veranda along the west façade, it has a three-bay-wide central pedimented gable and is flanked by semi-elliptical pavilions. In this section are two interior end chimneys and two chimneys on either side of the central gable. The five-bay by three-bay service wing has two interior chimneys in both the north and south ends and three-bay jerkinhead dormers in each side. The main section, typically, is more highly ornamented than the service wing, with corner quoins, chimneys with string courses and dentiled caps, and crossette window trim. The tripartite modillioned cornice encircles the whole house and the drainpipes have egg-and-dart trim. The ornament of the cornice is ceramic. Except for the casement windows in the basement, all windows have six lights over three vertical lights; those in the service wing have louvered shutters. The c. 1835 Graybeal-Kelly House, at 501 West Gordon Street, was the manor house for the farm until the Liriodendron mansion was constructed. This Georgian style house is 2 1/2 stories, laid up in five-stretcher bond. Five bays wide and two rooms deep, with symmetrically arranged façades, this gable-roofed house with two interior end double chimneys has a new one-room addition on the west end. Three dormers stand on the south side of the roof and two on the north.

Significance: Liriodendron is a turn-of-the-20th-century summer estate which was developed around a Georgian Revival mansion erected about 1898 for a prominent Baltimore doctor, Howard Atwood Kelly. It is significant for the complex of buildings set among gently sloping hills (with the mansion house on the highest point) and trees (many of which are Tulip Poplars for which Liriodendron is the Latin name) and for its association with Dr. Kelly, a pioneer in the fields of gynecology, radiotherapy, electrosurgery, and herpetology. In addition to the Georgian Revival mansion which was designed by the Baltimore architectural firm of Wyatt and Nolting, is an excellent example of its style, and is still occupied by the Kelly family, the complex also contains three excellent and well preserved examples of mid-19th century farm buildings, including the Graybeal-Kelly house, the contemporaneous frame barn, and the circa 1850 board and batten frame house. These buildings were part of the farm that was developed by Kelly into the summer estate.




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