Photo credit: DAG , 01/1968

Property Name: Great House
Date Listed: 6/7/1984
Inventory No.: CE-65
Location: 284, Great House Farm Lane, Chesapeake City, Cecil County

Description: Great House is a large brick dwelling constructed in the second quarter of the 18th century. The house, which faces south toward Bohemia creek, is four bays wide and two rooms deep, and stands two stories high above a raised brick foundation with a beveled water table. The entrance is located in the bay second from the east, and consists of 12-panel, double-leaf doors. The remaining bays of the first-floor elevation hold 12/12 sash windows with paneled shutters. On the second story, above a shingled pent roof (restored), four 8/12 sash windows are aligned above the first-floor openings. All openings have segmental arches. A boxed cornice defines the gable roof; a T-section interior brick chimney with corbeled cap rises from each gable. The facades are laid in Flemish bond and the ends in English bond. The west gable has two 12/12 sash on the first story, two 8/12 sash above, and two 6/6 sash lighting the attic, with two circular vents in the peak. The north facade is symmetrical, five bays wide, with a transomed central entrance. An original kitchen wing, four irregular bays wide by two bays deep, extends from the east gable; constructed of brick and stone, the wing was recently given a frame second story. A modern porch spans the wing's south facade, and a frame garage adjoins the east gable. The interior of the main block is arranged in a four-room plan, with each room heated by a fireplace with a diagonal hearth. The house retains virtually all its original interior detailing and hardware, including paneled doors and fireplace walls, glazed-door cupboards, molded cornices, chair rails, baseboards, and architraves, as well as its stair and balustrade and original flooring.

Significance: Great House derives its significance from its architecture, embodying several features which are unusual among the mid-18th century houses of tidewater Maryland. Its floor plan represents a significant alternative to the double-pile, central passage plan which typifies large houses of the period in the region in dispensing with the usual central passage and providing a unique heated stair hall in the southeast corner of the main block. Another unusual plan feature is the vestibule inside the north entrance. In addition, the house retains practically all its exemplary mid-18th century interior trim and hardware. The fireplace surround in the front (southwest) parlor is an interpretation of a classical entablature: fluted pilasters frame a paneled overmantel surmounted by a triglyph-and-metope frieze. The stair features a heavily molded handrail, turned balusters, and step brackets. Other uncommon features include the T-shaped chimneys and oculus attic vents; the latter are sometimes found in houses of the period in Delaware. The original kitchen wing retains its fireplace and Dutch oven.




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