Twin Oak Court, Linthicum Heights, Anne Arundel County
Twin Oaks is a 2 1/2-story brick Greek Revival influenced dwelling constructed in 1857, with additions and Neo-Classical embellishments made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The final composition is an eclectic, Georgian Revival influenced dwelling. Facing south, the house consists of a 2 1/2 story brick main block which is based on a central passage, single-pile plan, with a two-story brick rear wing, both covered with gable roofs. A 1 1/2-story brick wing with a gambrel roof extends from the west gable end of the main block. From its west elevation extends a 1-story hip-roof enclosed porch. Another one-story hip-roof enclosed porch of similar proportions extends from the east gable end of the main block. A two-story frame service wing extends from the rear gable end of the rear wing. A two-story brick polygonal wing extends from the rear of the house, filling the northwest corner formed where the rear wing meets the main block. A one-story hip-roofed porch runs across the facade of the dwelling with a "porte-cochere" extending from the east end over the drive. The center of the porch is marked by a portico, supported by two Doric columns surmounted by an entablature with a dentiled cornice. Both ends of the porch are supported by Doric columns, but the expanse between the portico and columns is supported by narrow iron posts. The porch has a turned balustrade. The brick sections of the house are laid in common bond. The main block and brick wing have corbeled brick cornices. Wood modillions have been applied to the facade cornice of the main block, and wood dentils to the east elevation cornice of the wing. Directly over the principal entrance, which is flanked by 4-pane sidelights and surmounted by a 5-pane transom, in the center of the 5-bay facade, is a Palladian window. This and other Neo-Classical treatments, both exterior and interior, were added in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during the ownership of Congressman John Charles Linthicum. Other windows are predominantly 6/6 sash. Two gable-roofed dormers with paired 2/2 sash windows pierce the roof slope of the gambrel wing, one at the facade and the other at the rear. Two gable-roofed 6/6 sash dormer windows also pierce the east gable slope of the brick wing and service wing roofs. There are two interior gable-end brick chimneys in the main block and one at the gable end of the brick wing. There is an interior brick chimney on the north elevation of the polygonal wing. Exterior brick chimneys are located at the west elevation of the gambrel wing and the west elevation of the frame service wing. A mid- to late-19th century brick springhouse, frame barn, carriage house, and harness shed are located behind the house, to the north. An elaborate marten birdhouse, a metal aviary, a columned grape arbor, two free-standing concrete-cast columns, remnants of some statuary, and a wide variety of trees are surviving elements of the once beautifully landscaped grounds surrounding the house.
Twin Oaks is significant historically for its association with U.S. Congressman John Charles Linthicum of Maryland, who is noted for sponsoring the legislation which established "The Star-Spangled Banner" as our National Anthem. Linthicum served in the Maryland House and Senate from 1904 until 1911, and in the U.S. Congress from 1911 until his death in 1932. Twin Oaks was his country estate where he entertained many dignitaries, among them William Jennings Bryan and General Douglas MacArthur. Architecturally, Twin Oaks is significant as an impressive mid-19th century brick vernacular farmhouse which was transformed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries into a Georgian-Revival showplace by Congressman Linthicum. The grounds surrounding the house were beautifully landscaped, including fountains and statuary brought back from Linthicum’s travels abroad. Surviving structures that indicate the lavish detail of the landscaping are a Victorian birdhouse, an aviary, a columned grape arbor, two freestanding concrete-cast columns, and a few pieces of statuary.