Photo credit: M. Cooke , 05/1982

Property Name: Rockland
Date Listed: 2/2/1983
Inventory No.: BA-219
Location: 10214, Falls Road (MD 25), Lutherville-Timonium, Baltimore County

Description: Rockland is a 2 ½-story Greek Revival-influenced house consisting of a three-bay-wide main block with two telescoping additions extending to the north. The house faces east on a prominence on the west side of Falls Road in Brooklandville, Baltimore County, about 2 ½ miles north of the Baltimore City line. The main block was constructed in 1837. The building rests on a stone foundation, and is constructed of brick which has been stuccoed and scored to resemble ashlar masonry. The principal (east) façade is three bays wide; the central bay, which projects slightly, holds the entrance which has a double door in a simple surround with bull’s-eye corner blocks, surmounted by a transom. Two 6/6 windows flank the door. The entrance is sheltered by a one-bay-wide porch with a flat roof supported on four simple Doric columns. On the second floor, a French door flanked by sidelights and surmounted by a six-light window opens onto the roof of the entrance porch, which has a diamond-patterned balustrade. Each of the flanking bays has a tripartite window with bull’s-eye corner blocks inset in a recessed segmental arch on the first floor, with a single 6/6 window above. A simple cornice and blank frieze run under the eaves of the hipped roof, which is pierced by two gabled dormers with eight-light casement windows and two brick central chimneys. A small parapet surmounts the central bay. A wing extends to the west, consisting of two, two-story additions: a two-bay-wide stage completed in 1852, and a three-bay-wide section built after 1890. The five-sided, arched loggias which flank the main block were constructed c. 1905. The main block has a center-hall plan; interior details are consistent with its sophisticated Greek Revival design. The three first-floor rooms have deep cornices and heavy paneled interior shutters. Dark marble mantels of plain design are found in these three rooms and in the 1852 addition. Bull’s-eye corner blocks and fluted pilasters trim each window in the main block; interior doors carry heavy entablatures. Also on the property are a smokehouse and bake oven, contemporary with the main house; a large bank barn showing Italianate influence in its bracketed eaves, broad cross-gable, and picturesque cupola, and a late-19th century frame shed.

Significance: Rockland derives significance from two sources. First, its architecture is unique in Baltimore County, in that it represents a highly refined and sophisticated articulation of the Greek Revival style that was not commonly employed in rural areas of Maryland. The distinctive characteristics of this style, including its symmetrical massing, smooth wall surfaces, low-pitched roof, transomed entrance, and simple yet strong interior and exterior detail, are generally associated with urban contexts in early 19th-century Maryland; Rockland presents a rare example of a country residence executed in the Greek Revival style. Moreover, the elegance of Rockland’s design is noteworthy; the careful attention to detail and effect evident throughout the house extends to its setting, with the result that the building, viewed from a distance, appears much more imposing than its true size. Secondly, Rockland is significant as the residence of William Fell Johnson, who played an important role in the improvement of transportation in Baltimore County in his position as a manager of the Falls Turnpike Road Company.




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