Michael F. Dwyer
19010, Fisher Avenue (MD 107), Poolesville, Montgomery County
Valhalla is a two-story house of ashlar construction to which are attached a c. 1835 1 1/2-story log structure and two small 20th century one-story frame wings. Facing north, the eastern three bays of the main block, constructed of local Seneca sandstone, date to c. 1835. Of the same period is a log outbuilding, set back from the main house, and probably originally used as a kitchen. In 1855-65, the main block was enlarged by three bays to the west, in the same sandstone. This portion of the building has a hall and parlor interior arrangement. A 1938 frame addition connects the rear of the main block to the log section, and a 1954 rear wing extends south from the western part of the main block. Flush chimneys rise from either end of the main block, and an interior chimney stands near the center of the building, indicating where the original exterior west wall of the house was located. The north facade of the main block is six bays wide, with entrances in the second and fourth bays from the left. Windows are 6/6 sash with louvered shutters. Door and window openings have heavy dressed stone lintels and stone sills. Each doorway has a four-light transom. The east and west facades of the main block are pierced only by two four-light attic windows, flanking the chimney. The two bays of the south facade not covered by additions on the first floor contain 6/6 sash windows, and there are three 6/6 windows and one small six-light window on the second floor. The interior of the house has simple classically influenced woodwork dating primarily from the 1855 to 1865 period when the western section was added and the interior of the eastern section was damaged by fire. The interior of the log section has the logs exposed and contains a large stone fireplace. The property is further enhanced by a c. 1830 stone dairy building and a frame 19th century barn.
The significance of Valhalla lies in its architecture as an example of a type of construction which was common in the mid 19th century in northwestern Montgomery County but of which only two or three examples exist today. Valhalla, built in 1835 and enlarged in 1855-1865, was one of the first large buildings erected in this section of the county to use the local red brown stone which heretofore had been used almost exclusively in small cottages, slave quarters, barns, and foundations of frame and log houses. Valhalla also has the heavy four-square proportions and lack of decorative detailing on the exterior which are common to Montgomery County's rural architecture of the mid 19th century.