Paul Baker Touart
Elisha Kirk House
18, Cross Keys Road, North East, Cecil County
The Elisha Kirk House is a two-story, Federal-style brick house, five bays wide and two deep, with a new stone wing. Facing north, it has a gable roof with a molded cornice and brick chimneys at both ends, an interior one on the west end, and a new exterior one on the east end. The west end of the house is brick laid in common bond with five rows of stretchers, with random glazed headers and a belt course of alternating plain and glazed bricks. The front or north side and east end are stuccoed and the south side is covered by stone additions. The fenestration is different on all sides. The north facade has a central door with a one-story, flat-roofed portico with four Doric columns across the front and latticework on the sides. The eight-panel front door has a fanlight with curving muntins, reeded trim with roundels in the corner blocks, and a granite sill. The first-story windows have 12/12 sash and three-panel shutters; the second-story windows have 9/6 sash. The rest of the windows on the house are 9/9, except for the two 3/3 sash windows in the gable flanking the chimney.
The significance of the Elisha Kirk House is derived from its architecture. With its heavy massing, original center-hall, 4/4 room plan, and fully articulated Federal-influenced decorative detailing, the Elisha Kirk House exemplified the type of rural domestic architecture that was built in the northeastern section of Maryland, particularly Cecil County, in the early decades of the 19th century. Among the important design features are the five-bay symmetrical facade, symmetrically molded interior trim, the interplay of shapes in the decoration (ovals against rectangles as seen particularly in the first floor north room mantel), and extensive use of reeding as a decorative element in the woodwork. A particularly interesting feature is the reeded window frames on the facade.