Natalie W. Shivers
1724, Carrs Mill Road, Fallston, Harford County
Rockdale is a farm developed from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. The dwelling is surrounded by several outbuildings, trees, and other plantings, and the remains of formal gardens and garden structures developed in the early 20th century. The dwelling is in three parts with its principal façade to the south overlooking a small valley and the property's entrance. The east room of the east wing is the earliest section dating from the 18th century. The largest or main portion of the dwelling dates from c. 1815-1830. The north wing, a bay centered in the south façade of the second story, and a small conservatory added to the south side of the east wing, date from the very early 20th century. The main house is five bays in length, 2 1/2 stories in height, of stone construction, stuccoed and scored. A brick chimney rises flush with each end gable. The principal entrance centered in the south front is a six-paneled door with glazed transom. Typical windows are 6/6 with narrow beaded frames and louvered blinds. Three dormers are in the southerly slope of the roof, each with 6/6 windows. A one-story porch extends across the south front, its fluted wooden columns of the Greek Doric order. Originally three bays in width, it was extended the full length of the house early in the 20th century. The bay window, added early in the 20th century to the central bay of the second story, has a 6/6 window in its south side with 4/4 windows in the flanking sides. The west end of the main house has a 2/2 window on either side of the chimney in the attic gable. The north façade is similar to the south but its central bay is covered by the north wing, an early 20th century frame addition. Two stories in height with a gable roof, it has a two-story bay window projecting from its east side and a small porch sheltering the entrance in the north end. The east wing is three bays in length, two stories in height, of stone construction stuccoed and scored in imitation of ashlar. A brick chimney rises flush with its east gable. Its entrance is approximately centered in the south front and windows are 6/6 with louvered blinds. A one-story shed-roofed porch extends across the south front.
The significance of Rockdale in the Fallston vicinity of Harford County derives from two sources. First as the residence of William E. Robinson (1860-1935), an entrepreneur in the canning industry, Rockville is associated with the life of a person who figures prominently in an industry that was a major factor in Harford County's economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. From 1880 through the beginning of World War I, canning of fruits and vegetables was the third most important industry in Maryland. Harford was one of the counties which lead the state in the industry and Robinson is believed to have had the largest of such operations in the county. Second, Rockdale is significant for the Neoclassical influenced interior decorative detailing. Although the house was enlarged and remodeled to meet the changing tastes and lifestyles of the various owners, the interior of the main portion of the structure, erected circa 1815-1830, still retains a high percentage of its original woodwork and is one of a few houses of this period in this section of Harford County which still have much of the original interior decorative detailing. With its symmetrical moldings with corner blocks and paneled reveals, and mantelpieces, Rockdale is probably the best of these houses and as such could be used as a text for a broader understanding of the architectural development of Harford County.