Orlando Ridout V
Corsica Street, Centreville, Queen Annes County
The Captain's Houses are a closely set row of four small houses built along Corsica Creek in the post-Civil War period. The four houses are almost identical, with only minor differences in fenestration. Resting on a one-story brick foundation, the upper story-and-a-half of each house is of frame construction, with steeply pitched roof and two-story engaged porch on the water facade. A detailed description of the southernmost house is given below. The two-bay river facade on the ground floor consists of a door in the right or west bay and a 6/6 window to the left. This pattern is repeated on the main floor, with the door giving access to the upper level of the two-story porch. On the land facade, the ground level reaches up to the main floor, allowing direct access from outside through a door in the east bay. A 6/6 window in the west bay balances the door. One gable-roofed 6/6 dormer window is centered on each side of the roof. The brick foundation wall has been whitewashed. The frame portion of the building is covered with unbeaded weatherboard siding secured with machine nails. The porch columns are square and constructed of 1" x 6" boards. The second floor porch is enclosed by a railing with square balusters. The tin roof is not original, but has been applied over cedar shingles. Exterior decoration is restricted to beaded door and window frames and a modest box cornice that returns at the rear of the gable. The interior is very simple, with a single room on each floor--cellar, first, and second story. The cellar room is heated with small fireplaces; a winder stair provides access to the upper story. The first and second story were heated with stoves rather than fireplaces, a practice that became common after about 1860.
Architecturally, the Captain's Houses are probably unique. Taken individually, they are reminiscent of a style of small house or cottage common throughout the maritime areas of the Deep South, finding particular favor in the Carolinas and the Gulf Coast. By combining four essentially identical houses, the builder has created a remarkable ensemble. As part of the early architectural fabric of Centreville Wharf, the Captain's Houses can also be viewed as significant in the social and economic history of Queen Anne's County and in the maritime trade between Centreville and Baltimore.