Photo credit: Orlando Ridout V , 11/1981

Property Name: Content
Date Listed: 2/13/1986
Inventory No.: QA-11
Location: Route 305, Centreville, Queen Annes County

Description: Content is of brick construction, two stories high, five bays wide and one room deep, with a single flush brick chimney centered on the southwest end of the shallow hip roof. A matching chimney on the northeast gable end was demolished in the 19th century and replaced with a shared chimney stack between the main house and the wing. An original rear wing projects from the northeast end of the rear or southeast facade of the main building. This wing was constructed originally as a single story structure but at an early date, perhaps even while the house was still under construction, the wing was raised to a full two stories. In the 19th century the original, presumably pitched gable roof of the main house was modified to form the present hip roof with a widow's walk. The latter feature was removed when the house was renovated and restored in recent years. Probably at the same time, the rear wing was raised an additional 12 or 18 inches to allow more headroom on the second story. The front facade of the house faces northwest toward Route 305. The door is in the center bay of the first story flanked by two 12/12 windows on each side. The six-panel door is framed with paneled soffit and jambs, a four-light transom, and a simple molded surround. Five 12/12 windows are ranged across the second story; three-light cellar windows are located directly below each of the four first-story windows. The brickwork is laid in very fine, regular Flemish bond above a molded water table and a Flemish bond foundation. There is no belt course between the first and second story. The windows are set in simple beaded frames with plain rowlock lintels above and reproduction paneled exterior shutters. The eaves are boxed in with a handsome cornice with complex crown and bed mold. The roof is covered with asphalt shingles. Also on the property are a small Flemish bond brick dairy and a meathouse of hewn and pit sawn log planks tenoned into hewn corner posts and reinforced with diagonal downbraces in each corner.

Significance: The C. C. Harper Farm, historically known as Content, includes three buildings of architectural and historical significance. The large two story house is an exceptional example of 18th century brick domestic architecture on the Eastern Shore. It is among the finest surviving houses of the period in Queen Anne's County, and is particularly notable due to the unusual banded, glazed brickwork and the very fine interior woodwork. The banded brickwork is a feature that has been noted on a number of brick houses on the Eastern Shore; all are thought to date to the period circa 1760s to 1790s. The most notable example of similar brickwork nearby is Bordlington, a two-story brick house with glazed header Flemish bond fa├žade and banded glazing on the gable ends. Of equal interest is the similarity of the interior dentil cornice at Content and at Wharf House, a large brick house constructed in 1771 at Centreville Landing. Also significant are the brick dairy house and log plank meat house to the northeast of the house. Both buildings appear to be contemporary with the main house and represent unusually well preserved examples of 18th century domestic outbuildings. The brick dairy is one of the finest and earliest examples of its type in the county. The meat house is an important example of an unusual building form known as post-and-plank construction. This is the earliest and finest surviving example that has been located in Tidewater Maryland. Of particular interest are the molded and braced corner posts and the tilted false plate eave construction.




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