MHT File Photo
Maryland Avenue, Queenstown, Queen Annes County
Bowlingly is a large brick dwelling house constructed in 1733 and enlarged at an early date. The house has been renovated several times and today includes features associated with at least five different periods of construction. The original house, dated 1733 on the gable end, is a two story brick structure that is seven bays long and one room deep, with flush brick chimneys at either end of the pitched gable roof. At an early date, probably in the mid 18th century, the house was enlarged by a one story brick wing that projects from the northeast gable wall. Nine windows, 9/6 panes, with ornamental brick arches are flanked on each end of both stories by a narrow window. There is a chamfered water table and an ornamental string course, part of which was destroyed about 1900 during Bowlingly's brief period as a hotel. The outstanding feature of the front (west) facade is the brickwork laid up in Flemish bond with all headers glazed. High on the south end, the date 1733 is laid in glazed headers above diamond shaped patterns in a darker brick below. According to oral tradition (and at least partially confirmed by documentary evidence) the house was damaged considerably by British soldiers during the War of 1812. The interior of the house was extensively renovated c. 1820s-1830s, possibly a belated result of the damage. In the mid to late 19th century the one story wing was raised to two stories with a shallow hip roof, the original first story openings of the wing were significantly altered, the interior trim was replaced with Victorian details, and a two story brick wing was added to the northwest corner of the earlier wing. The most extensive changes to the house date to the 20th century, when the house was further enlarged, the hip roof of the early wing was replaced with a pitched gable roof and Colonial cornice, and interior renovations were undertaken in the 19th century wing.
Bowlingly is significant for both architectural and historical associations. It is among the earliest dated structures in the central Eastern Shore, and its scale and size are indicative of the significance of the house at the time of its construction. The firm date of 1733 is invaluable to architectural historians as an example by which to date other structures in the region. Bowlingly--according to the contemporary account of a local militia officer, Major Thomas Emory--was pillaged by the British during the War of 1812. At dawn on August 13, 1813, a flotilla of English ships landed at Bowlingly's wharf. The British troops severely damaged the house before encountering the local militia. Other accounts maintain that the British landed across the creek from Bowlingly at Blakeford. The local militia, separated from the numerically superior British force by Queenstown Creek, had enough time to retreat toward Centreville.