Michael F. Dwyer
Nathan Dickerson Poole House
15600, Edwards Ferry Road, Poolesville, Montgomery County
The Nathan Dickerson Poole House is a large frame dwelling, constructed in 1871. Its design combines elements of the Victorian Gothic and Italianate styles. The house is 2 1/2 stories high, with a steeply pitched gable roof clad in slate, and a foundation of local sandstone blocks. The principal (northeast) facade is three bays wide: the central bay projects, defined by wooden quoins and capped by a steep cross gable. The entrance is located in this bay, and features double doors with transom and sidelights. Above the entrance, on the second story, is a double window with 4/4 sash in segmental-arched openings decorated with hood moldings and ornamental sills. A single similarly detailed square-headed window appears in the peak of the cross gable. The flanking bays have steep wall dormers, tall double windows in arched openings on the ground floor, and fenestration like that of the central bay on the second and half-stories. The building is clad in novelty siding, with wooden quoins at the corners of the northeast facade. A two-story, gable-roofed portico with Colonial Revival columns shelters the entrance, replacing the original veranda. The southeast facade has a one-story three-sided flat-roofed projecting bay, with vertical panels and a bracketed cornice. A two-bay wing extends to the rear, resulting in a cruciform plan. One-story additions have been made to the southwest gable and northwest side of the wing, and to the northwest gable of the main block. On the interior, the first floor retains its original plan, with a long central entrance hall containing the main stair and a fireplace. To the east is the parlor, with a slate fireplace and some paneling in the projecting bay; the dining room to the west features cornice and chairrail moldings. The kitchen and back stairs are located at the far end of the entrance hall. On the second floor, the master bedroom above the parlor retains some paneling; the second floor plan has been altered. Also on the property are a frame barn and corn shed of early-20th century date.
The Nathan Dickerson Poole House derives significance from two sources. First, as a vernacular expression combining elements of the Victorian Gothic and Italianate styles, the house represents an example of the type of architecture chosen in the third quarter of the 19th century by a successful farmer and local official to reflect his material prosperity and urbane tastes. The house embodies the distinctive characteristics of the Victorian Gothic style in its cruciform plan, vertical proportions, repetition of steep gable forms, and decorative detailing, and employs elements of the Italianate style in its tall first floor windows, segmental-arched window openings, and rusticated quoins. These styles frequently characterized high-style urban architecture of the period, and the use of their elements in rural Montgomery County expresses the achievements and aspirations of the builder. Secondly, the house was constructed by Nathan Dickerson Poole (1843-1912), descendant of the original settlers of Poolesville, himself a successful farmer and Tax Collector for the Third District of Montgomery County. After it passed out of the Poole family's ownership, it became the retreat of "Boss" Edward J. Flynn, prominent in Democratic Party politics of the New Deal era.