Michael O. Bourne
Cross Roads Church
911, Old General's Highway, Millersville, Anne Arundel County
Cross Roads Church has a simple rectangular shape with a low-pitched gable roof, round-arched windows with multi-paned sashes, a dentiled cornice, and a batten-like treatment of the exterior walls that forms a paneled effect with the battens merging to form arches below the cornice. The one-story gable-front frame structure was built in 1861 as the Old Severn Crossroads Methodist Episcopal Church in Millersville. Moved c. 1930 and again in 1981, the church has had a 1 1/2-story frame, gable roofed section added to the rear to create a T plan. The original section is 4 by 4 bays in plan, the rear addition 2 by 4 bays. The rear addition, constructed about 1933, duplicates the exterior detailing of the original part. The double entrance on the south gable end, with doors of four raised panels topped by semicircular fanlights with tracery, is flanked by engaged Tuscan pilasters with molded imposts and molded architrave, and is covered by a shallow gable-roofed portico. This portico is flanked by round-arched 9/9 sash windows and surmounted by a pair of round-arched 3/6 sash windows, all with louvered shutters and tracery in the round arches. The tympanum of the front gable holds a lunette-shaped vent. The nave is four bays in length, with a round-arched 9/9 sash window with tracery and louvered shutters in each bay. Similar windows pierce the two-bay-wide east and west gable ends of the perpendicular rear addition. The north facade of the addition holds four pairs of rectangular 9/9 sash windows. The basement of the addition is pierced by 6/6 sash cellar windows beneath each first-floor window. The original church section is of the auditorium plan. The front section is occupied by a full-width vestibule with stairs at either end leading to the choir loft above. The auditorium has a modern hardwood floor, plaster on wood lath walls with a quirked cyma-recta baseboard, and an embossed tin band which terminates the exceptional pressed tin ceiling, stamped to form 24" x 24" square pebble-surfaced panels. The round-headed windows are cased with a beaded fascia and heavy backband. Stairs in the vestibule return to create an L shape. The stairs have turned newels, seven turned, tapered balusters, and round hand rails, with a flat skirt along the side walls and a molded base along the front. The area under the stairs is sheathed with board-and-batten doors providing access. The ceiling is of pressed tin with a different pattern from the main ceiling. Although added to, the original section retains high integrity of design, materials, and workmanship.
The significance of the Cross Roads Church lies primarily in its architectural character. Although enlarged and no longer standing on its original site, the building embodies an unusual combination of architectural styles. The temple form is typical of the Greek Revival style, and Grecian elements are included in the decoration. The board-and-batten wall treatment is often found on rural Gothic Revival churches and the round-arched windows are normally an element of the Romanesque Revival.