Paul Baker Touart
Hood Road, Manokin, Somerset County
Waters' River is a large plantation house constructed c. 1800-1820 on the Big Annemessex River. The house is built of brick laid in Flemish bond, and stands two stories high above a raised basement. The steeply pitched gable roof is clad in wood shingles. The principal facade is oriented south, towards the river, and is three bays wide. Windows of 9/6 sash flank the central entrance on the first story, with 6/6 sash above. A two-story frame kitchen wing (a 1944 remodeling of a pre-1910 structure) extends from the east gable end. A small, one-story, 20th century porch is attached to the west gable. Significant original exterior features include splayed wooden lintels simulating jack arches over all window openings, recessed plaster panels below the second-story windows, a boxed cornice with dentiled bed molding, and corbeled flush chimneys which rise from each end. The interior is organized in a four room plan: A flush, six-panel door opens into a rectangular stair hall; a library and parlor lie to the left, and the dining room is directly behind the hall. A great deal of Federal period detail remains intact, including the stair and balustrade; mantels; paneled doors and reveals; and baseboard, chair rail, and architrave moldings. Also located on the property are three small outbuildings and a frame water tower. In addition, the property includes the site of an earlier Waters dwelling and the remains of a corduroy (log) road leading to the site of in oyster house at the river edge.
Waters' River is significant for its architecture, as an exceptionally well preserved example of a Federal period plantation house on Maryland's lower Eastern Shore. Several of its distinctive features, including tall proportions, recessed plaster panels on the front and rear facades, and intricately carved interior woodwork, are shared by other Somerset County houses of the period; Waters' River is distinguished among these by its integrity, retaining over 90% of its original interior and exterior fabric intact. The property's integrity is further enhanced by the retention of its rural, water-oriented setting.