Writer’s Note: Earlier today I found myself on the horns of a historical architectural dilemma while walking the streets of the Annapolis Historic District in search of a picture of the day for my Annapolis Experience Blog daily post. I have been doing this same thing for coming up on three years now without ever having missed a single day in doing so, I believe the number now stands at close to 1,000 straight days in a row. As self-promotional as that last sentence may read I mention it only to illustrate the point that encountering historic building on my daily walks in the City is certainly not a new experience for me. I have seen the likes of original historic buildings that have been fairly well preserved, even over the course of hundreds of years of existence, as well as structures that let’s say have been dutifully preserved or reconstructed over time.
What caused me to find myself placed on those before mentioned proverbial horns was that I was confronted by the presence of a historic building whose architectural lineage clearly had roots in both the 1780's and 1860's. It was the sight of what is clearly 19th century American Italianate architecture style having been superimposed over that of an original 18th century Federal style building that gave me pause. It was not only pause but also the beginning of a look deep inside of me as to whether to accept this historic architectural dichotomy for what it was or to consider it yet another example of how alternations take away from the historic significance of a building.
In any event I went on to compose my daily blog post and at the end of it I seemed to have found the answer to my architectural dilemma. What follows is a mostly excerpted version of the same post that I wrote earlier today.
Today’s featured photograph was taken at the Gibson’s Lodgings Inn on lower Prince George Street. While certainly a challenging location in which to capture the mass of the main building itself in a photograph I have elected to present the front door of it instead as a way in which to share a bit of its history and the dichotomy of its architectural styles that one sees on it today.
The historical reference name of this building is the Nicholas Z. Maccubbin House. Constructed in the 1780′s as the residence of Nicholas Z. Maccubbin the land that he built his house on had been used as a shipyard during the latter part of the 1600′s through the early 1700′s most certainly because of its proximity to the water, today’s Annapolis Harbor. It is interesting to note that the multi acre tract on Prince George Street that included this lot during the early 1700′s eventually included a public jail (gaol) that was built on it in 1739 or so.
Mr. Maccubbin profession of the day was that of a shoemaker as well as a merchant, possibly a successful one what with having the resources to have built a large residence of its size during that particular period. The house was constructed in the Federal Style featuring a two story five bay wide front featuring brick walls laid in an English Bond course pattern. The house remained in the Maccubbin family until 1865. Certainly not as grand a residence as the more well known federal style residences located further up Prince George Street, i.e, the William Paca and Brice House, it still represented a significant architectural entity especially with the more commonly found frame structures built near the waterfront during that era.
Having directly or indirectly remained in the Maccubbin family since it was first built the property and dwelling on 110 Prince George Street was sold in 1865 to a Mr. Solomon Phillips who was responsible for altering the Federal features of the building to that of the Italianate style that we see today. Mr. Phillips replaced the English Bond brick front facade with that of the pressed brick pattern shown adjacent to the door in today’s picture. In addition the main entrance way was altered to include the current wide panel door with narrow full height vertical side windows as well as a horizontal glass transom. The ornate door hood is certainly indicative of Italianate design which was especially popular in Annapolis during the last quarter of the 19th century. As to the wrought iron porch railings they represent a well known design accent used during that period as well. Finally the hood like millwork used above the entranceway door can also be found set over the four first floor windows that feature exterior wrought iron French balcony like accents on the lower part of them.
As to the ownership of the Maccubbin House after Mr. Solomon it seemed that his extensive alterations impacted him financially and he had to sell his residence in 1885 to a Mr. Sommers. In 1922 it was in turn sold to the Patterson family, who’s name has been used to reference this house over the years as well and can be seen on the brass plate to the left of the front door today. In 1965 the house was acquired by a Doris Miller who lived in it until 1980 or so. Finally Robert and Ayrol Gibson purchased the residence where they came to operate it as a Bed & Breakfast one for which it is used for today.
While being the type who appreciates the originality of a historic building’s architecture as I stood in front of 110 Prince George Street today I found myself thinking about how this structure possibly appeared to a passerby back in the 1780′s as well as in the later 1800′s after Mr. Solomon’s alterations were made to it. Certainly both styles can be appreciated for the historical architectural significance of their respective periods making the visual impact of the alterations done on it almost 140 years ago seem a bit secondary.
G J Gibson
Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not included in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC