Photo credit: Marina King , 04/1985

Property Name: St. Mary's Rectory
Date Listed: 9/10/1987
Inventory No.: PG:87B-8A
Location: 16305, St. Mary's Church Road, Aquasco, Prince Georges County

Description: The old St. Mary's Rectory is a gable-front 2 1/2-story frame dwelling of three by three bays, built in 1849 and enlarged to twice its size in 1856. Its cornice treatment, porches, and window surrounds display elements of Italianate and Greek Revival styles. Its German siding is covered with asbestos shingle. The house rests on a brick foundation and has an almost square footprint. There is a mid-1870s office addition and a late-19th century kitchen wing on the south facade. Windows throughout are 6/6 sash, with louvered shutters on the north and west facades of the main block. The principal entrance is in the west bay of the north elevation, and consists of a six-paneled door with a three-light transom and two-light sidelights, covered by a one-bay gable-roofed porch on square columns. The attic gable features a tripartite window, consisting of a round-arched 6/6 sash window flanked by three-light windows, each of which retains a small louvered shutter. The west elevation is also three bays wide, with an entrance in the north bay carrying only a two-light transom. The first floor of this facade is sheltered by a shed-roofed porch on square columns. All cornices on the main block, including those of the two porches, are bracketed. Those on the roofline are larger than those on the porches. The roof is pierced by two interior chimneys on the south end of the east and west slopes of the roof. Between these chimneys, on all three floors of the south facade, are 6/6 sash windows with no shutters. A one-story addition covers the west bay of this facade, and a two-story addition is attached to the southeast corner of the main block., connected by an enclosed porch on the east side of the main block. A one-bay, two-story addition also covers the northern bay of the east facade. The two-story office addition, with an entrance on the east facade, has an exterior chimney on the south gable end. The one-story kitchen wing also has an exterior chimney on the south. The flooring, capped baseboarding, bracketed open-string stair, four-panel doors, architrave door and window surrounds, and living room and bedroom mantels are all original fabric. The dining room mantel is a replacement of the 1840s-50s period, salvaged from a local house. The building is finished to the third story.

Significance: The old St. Mary's Rectory is significant for its architecture and for its association with the history of St. Paul's Parish and the community of Aquasco. The rectory is an excellent example of a vernacular building with Greek Revival and Italianate stylistic elements. The floor plan exemplifies a style typical of the dwellings of successful landowners and merchants on the mid 19th century in Prince George's County. Constructed in 1849, specifications and the cost of the building are noted in the St. Paul's vestry minutes for that date. The dwelling was repaired and enlarged in 1856, probably assuming its present appearance at that time. After the renovation, the rectory had a side-passage, double pile plan. Original Greek Revival style elements include the front gable entrance facade, crown molded returned cornice, porch detail, interior stair detail, door and window surrounds, and the parlor mantel. Italianate elements include the heavy bracketing of the exterior cornice and the tripartite window in the north gable end. Rehabilitated by its present owners, the rectory contains a significant amount of original fabric and is little changed from its mid-19th century appearance. It is located in Aquasco, one of three remaining examples of a well-preserved agricultural community in Prince George's County. Aquasco reached its height in the 19th century, and is the location of a number of large 19th century planters homes. The rectory was stylishly built, perhaps because of its location in the thriving village and because of the affluence of its vestry and some of the members of St. Paul's Parish. Its setting on a rural lane close to the Episcopal Chapel, is well preserved. Details of its construction history are well documented by the St. Paul's Vestry records. The old rectory served St. Paul's Parish through 1977 when it was sold as a private residence.




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