17700, White Grounds Road (MD 121), Boyds, Montgomery County
Susanna Farm is an L-shaped, 2 1/2-story frame dwelling house, five bays by six overall, which sits on sandstone foundations, and is topped by standing seam metal roofing. The symmetry visible from the driveway approach is deceiving, for there are distinctly separate blocks which were constructed in several stages. Despite some minor 20th century alterations, the last major change occurred when the house was doubled in size and value by Benjamin F. Dyson in 1877-78. Dyson renovated in the Italianate style, adding a dormer, large brackets, and segmental-arched second floor windows in the two front gables. The gable-roofed dormer, with a semicircular upper sash, stands between these. Throughout the house, the first floor 6/6 sash windows have simple molding, and most have louvered shutters. The west block appears to be the earliest section of the house (with the possible exception of the east kitchen). In the Federal style, it is five bays by two bays and faces west, with two interior brick end chimneys. The west (front) facade has molded architraves and a Colonial Revival hip-roofed porch with square columns and brackets covering the central three bays. The front wood paneled door has sidelights and is surmounted by a four-light transom. Five auxiliary buildings stand on the property, including a stone kitchen/slave quarter and meat house which are believed to be contemporary with the house, an 1870s frame bank barn, and 20th century farm buildings.
Susanna Farm acquires significance from the unique architectural character of the 19th century frame house that stands upon it. The house contains the distinct characteristics of two architectural styles, Federal and Italianate, which were combined when the house was enlarged and remodeled to meet the needs of a new owner. Although the remodeling and enlargement of houses is not an uncommon occurrence, the ambition and scale of the alteration and addition at Susanna Farm is unusual for Montgomery County in the mid to late 19th century when the area was a relatively quiet rural farming region. This remodeling was a conscious attempt to enhance visually the house, particularly as seen from the drive. An interesting and puzzling features about the remodeling is the extent of it. The remodeling completely changed the architectural character of the house as seen from the property entranceway. The change, however, is limited to remodeling of one end of the original house and an addition. The limit of the change gives rise to speculation about the extent of the planned remodeling.