Photo credit: PJB , Undated Photo

Property Name: Mercer Brown House
Date Listed: 5/29/1987
Inventory No.: CE-88
Location: 1270, England Creamery Road, Rising Sun, Cecil County

Description: The Mercer Brown House consists of three distinct portions. The two-story, three-bay, gable-roofed brick part dates from 1746 and is laid in Flemish bond on all four sides with dark, glazed headers on the south and west facades. Several bricks are inscribed with the initials of local citizens and probable assistants of Mercer Brown, Jr. in the construction of his house. There is an intricately carved datestone with the inscription M B H (for Mercer and Hannah Brown) and ANNO DOMONI (sic) 1746. The interior retains its original floor plan of two rooms on each floor connected by a winder staircase and a small portion of its original woodwork. The three bay wide frame portion of the house dates from the early and late 19th century and is partly the work of Amassa Churchman, husband of the granddaughter of Mercer Brown, Jr. It retains its original floor plan but has been fitted with woodwork not original to the house. Abutting the north facade of this frame portion is one half of a double-pen log barn moved to this property from an adjoining farm. Facing north with a central doorway, the brick portion holds a central door on the first floor flanked by 9/6 windows, and two 6/6 windows on the second floor. Between the two floors is a pent roof, which runs around the west and south facades as well. The south facade has similar fenestration to the north, but the door has a 4-light transom and the first-floor openings are topped by narrow elliptical arches made of header bricks. The frame portion is three bays wide on the south side, with an 8-paneled door in the west bay and two 6/6 sash windows in the two bays to the east. The second floor holds two irregularly spaced 6/6 windows. The west gable ends of the house has a single window, and a chimney which services a corner fireplace on the interior. The east gable end is two bays wide. A chimney between the brick and frame portions services a chimney opening into the east room of the brick portion. The tall gable roof of the log pen addition to the north of the frame portion covers a chimney between the two sections. In the north gable end, covered with random width beaded siding, is an 8/8 sash window. Also on the property is an early-20th century bank barn.

Significance: The Mercer Brown House is architecturally significant as an important, firmly dated survivor of the distinctive Pennsylvania Quaker building tradition brought to Maryland in the Colonial period. Among the distinguishing features of this tradition are the remains of pent roofs, the elaborate use of glazed header brickwork, and a highly decorative datestone. The most unusual feature, however, is the set of local initials carved into the brickwork of the 1746 half of the house; very few buildings in Cecil County offer as much insight concerning the actual building process.




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