A few weeks ago I traveled to Queen Anne's County Maryland, specifically to the historic town of Centreville, early one morning to photograph a group of grand late 19th century Victorian era residences that I have been an admirer of for years. Even though Winter would soon give way to Spring my recollection of one of those Victorian homes was that the front of it tended to be partially obscured during the warmer months of the year by nearby trees. It was for this same reason that I have tended to shy away from taking photographs of all three residences at the same time for I wanted to capture as many of the exterior architectural elements as I could and then present them all together on one blog post which is why that I found myself in Centreville on a late Winter morning.
In any event here are those three Victorian residences, a troika if you would, of Centreville Maryland.
Jackson Collins House • Centreville Maryland
This is the Jackson Collins House in historic Centreville Maryland, circa 1886-87, as seen early on a late Winter morning that has been referred to as representing one of the finest examples of Victorian period architecture found in Queen Anne’s County Maryland today. It is thought that a Mr. Aaron Arlett began construction on this residence in the mid to latter part of the 1880's but never finished it for it was soon purchased by a Centreville businessman named John W. Perry. While the subject of possible historical speculation it has been alluded to that Mr. Arlett lacked the financial resources to complete it hence Mr. Perry's purchase of the house for $3,262.
Stately looking in its brick facade and wide porch with Tuscan columns that in turn adds to the distinctive mass of the structure itself. Note the almost oversized center turret and the gable windows on both the front and right side of the residence. Notice the two story bay window element set over an inviting open porch area extension along the side of the house as well that is not commonly seen on Victorian era Eastern Shore residences. While Victorian by designation the residence also incorporates Queen Anne and Italianate architectural elements as well. It can be said that the Jackson Collins House overall contribution to the nearby streetscape is certainly more than just significant.
Harper House • Centreville Maryland
Fronted by an ornate cast iron fence the Harper House, circa late 1880’s, in Centreville Maryland also represents the Victorian School of Architecture which was perhaps used to denote the original owner’s economic status in the community. As I later found out the house was built by a Mr. Robert M. Price owner of a local lumber company.
While its relationship to the overall lot size makes it appear smaller than those of its Victorian neighbors looks can be deceiving. Noteworthy architectural elements of the Harper House include elaborate turrets, decorative millwork trim and stained glass transoms on each of its eight front windows as well as an Eastlake style porch with turned columns that speaks to the level of detail used in its construction. More recent renovations by its owners have included the more gilded period accents that we see on the Harper House today.
Wright House • Centreville Maryland
The third member of this architectural troika of Victorian style residences is the Wright House built in 1893 by Walter & Sarah Wright. It is of interest to note that the house remained in the Wright family until the late 1950's.
Considered to be one of the largest Victorian residences in the county it features curved walls, multiple turrets and gables that serve to make for a most irregular looking roof line while a vast expanse of windows set across its front facade is certainly a distinctive architectural element used in the design of this home. Grander in mass than its immediate neighbor this Centreville residence features a running board 1st story exterior while the second is covered in fish scale siding and each of the roof projections set above it are covered in slate. Finally the first story porch roof is sheathed in metal while the detailed millwork found on its supporting columns and railings make for a most intricate design detail to say the least.
Let us all hope that these three exquisite Victorian residences will continue to hold positions of historic architectural prominence along this Centreville Maryland street for many years to come.
G J Gibson
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