Margaret W. Cook
16508, Marlboro Pike (MD 725), Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County
Compton Bassett is a two-story brick Georgian house, covered with cream-colored stucco, on a high basement of gray stucco. A two-story wing extends to the north. Interior chimneys rise from the north and south slopes of the hip roof. The five-bay east facade, overlooking the Patuxent River, has a slightly projecting pavilion in the center, flanked on either side by two 9/9 sash windows on either floor. The main entrance, in the center bay, consists of a six-panel door with a handsome Georgian surround with reeded and fluted pilasters and a triangular broken pediment. Above the door is a simple but delicate five-pane fanlight. The whole first floor of the pavilion is framed with a simple, rectangular, flat-roofed porch. Within the square posts of the porch, closely flanking the doorway, are two narrow 10-light windows. On the second floor of the pavilion is a 15-light window capped with a five-pane fanlight, and flanked by 8-light windows. This tripartite window configuration closely resembles a Palladian window, but the flanking windows are a bit far from the center window. The pavilion is capped with a pediment containing a small lunette window, identical to the two five-pane fanlights below. The dentil cornice surrounding the roofline is continued on the pediment and cornice returns. The west facade of the house is similar to the east, with a few notable exceptions. The central portion is flush with the wall and lacks a pediment. The entrance is also a six-paneled door with a fanlight, but the door surround is much simpler: two pilasters topped with a n architrave in semicircular form. There are louvered shutters on all the west windows, which are 9/9 sash as on the east facade. The second floor center bay has a tripartite window much like the east facade, but all sections of this window have louvered shutters, including the fanlight. The south facade has a 9/9 sash window at each floor level. These are placed off-center, closer to the east side of the building. A gable-roofed dormer with 6/6 sash window is centered on this slope of the hip roof. The north side of the building is covered by the two-story wing, added in 1928. The floor plan of the main block consists of a center hall flanked by two rooms on each side. The open string stair, with delicately carved balusters, is at the northwest end of the hall. Each room has a fireplace centered on its interior wall. There is also a very large fireplace in the old kitchen in the cellar. The interior features delicately carved moldings, particularly on cornices, door surrounds, and mantels. Random-width floorboards and interior paneled window shutters are original. Remaining dependencies include a chapel to the southeast, a meathouse to the southwest, and a dairy to the northwest. A family burial ground is located west of the mansion.
Compton Bassett is a fine example of the symmetrical Georgian house build in Prince George's County. The symmetrical three-part facade, Palladian motif in the first and second stories of the pavilion, symmetrical site plan of house and dependencies, as well as the well-executed interior woodwork, are all characteristic of Georgian architecture in the second half of the 18th century. The house and its setting have remained largely untouched.