MHT File Photo
Thomas Run Road, Churchville, Harford County
The Hays-Heighe House is located on the campus of Harford Junior College on the east side of Thomas Run Road, five miles east of Bel Air, Maryland. The house is five bays long and two bays deep with no windows in the west gable except at the attic level. It has a gable roof with massive brick chimneys on each gable. On the east is a five bay long, two-story stone wing, three bays of which are original to the house. Dressed stone is used on the main (south) façade, rough fieldstone on the sides. The lintels are more refined on this façade, having five separate blocks, in the center of each of which is a large keystone. The central south door is narrow in contrast to the size of the façade. It has a single-leaf door with semi-circular transom. Above the second story window and beneath the lunette window in the pediment is a stone date plaque with the initials "A & H H, 1808." There is a plain boxed cornice, with a course of small dentils.
The unusual construction of the overall stone building of this size which has exterior only "bearing" walls sets this building apart from others of the same type with conventional interior bearing walls. The house is important architecturally as a handsome, dignified stone dwelling of the period in a rural, agrarian county. The careful craftsmanship of the stone masonry, the soft buff color of the stone, the occasional well designed ornaments on both the exterior and interior express great restraint of design. The Hays-Heighe House is one of the important substantial houses in Harford County. Built in 1808, according to the date stone, by Archer Hays, the structure served as a farm house throughout the 19th century for the prominent 19th century Harford County Hays family. Thomas A. Hays, who owned the property while his daughter lived there, was one of the founders of the town of Bel Air, the county seat of Harford County.