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Family bonds keep old house growing

November 11, 2002|by PAT SCHOOLEY

Editor's note: This is the 144th in a series of articles about the historical and architectural treasures of Washington County.




Hopewell Road, a major economic development area for the county, is now home to new industrial parks. Head south on Hopewell from the Hagerstown area, and once the road passes under Interstate 70 it again becomes a rural way, scattered with residences and historic farms.

On the left lies a farmstead surrounded by a black three-board fence. Mature trees dot the yard. A two-part brick house on low fieldstone foundations dominates the collection of buildings, even though it is not a large structure. This house has a two-bay, story-and-a-half wing on the left and a two-story, three-bay section on the right. A single-story porch spans the front of the latter wing. Tall chimneys with corbelled tops rise from the gables, and two dormers pierce the roof of the lower wing. This is Salisbury.

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The left wing of the house was built first. Its back wall, now covered by a large new addition, is laid in Flemish bond. The other three walls were originally laid in common bond with three rows of stretcher bricks between each row of headers.

This bonding ratio was used in early Washington County structures, indicating a late 18th- or early 19th-century building date. Flemish bond was usually used on the main faade of a building, so the original small single-story house with a loft probably faced away from the present road and may have looked toward an earlier one that is now gone.

The right wing has Flemish bond on the faade that faces Hopewell Road, with the other walls laid in common bond with a five-to-one ratio. The date 1833 is scratched in one of the bricks. This change in orientation suggests that the road was moved sometime in the first quarter of the 19th century, before the house's larger section was built.

The main entrance of the house is in the central bay of its five-bay first level and is topped by an elegant fanlight with curved muntins. Above this fanlight is an elliptical arch that is a brick and a half wide. Windows across the front faade have flared flat arches that are also a brick and a half wide.

The front faade of the original two-bay section has been re-laid with original brick duplicating the Flemish bond and jack arches of the 1833 wing. The original back door has been turned into a window. Next to the main door is the cellar entrance beneath a segmental arch.

The front door has a stone sill and opens into a hall with an open spiral staircase. Delicate cast lead scroll brackets decorate the step-ends of the stringer. Slender round balusters support the cherry handrail as it winds to the second level.

Doors have six raised panels. On the left of the hall, in the original section of the house, a new fireplace has been built. The room opens into a broad kitchen area in the new addition at the rear of the house.

The room to the right of the hall still has its original fireplace surrounded by paneling and bookcases. Windows have flared paneled jambs, and woodwork is molded with turned corner blocks.

The second floor originally had two small chambers. The forward room has been divided into a walk-in closet and a bath to serve the bedroom in the other space.

On the other side of the upper hall, the loft of the original house has sloped walls and simple woodwork. The space above the new addition at the rear of this wing holds a large master bedroom with ample closets and a large bath. This addition was designed by architect George Harne to be sympathetic to the original while giving the owners more space.

Original structural members can still be seen in the loft over the 1833 wing. Here the plates sit four or five inches above the loft floor; and rafters hook over these plates, joined with pegs. Original nailers span the rafters, now covered by the new raised-seam metal roof.

The small cellar extends under the original section of the house and the entrance hall. The massive summer beam can still be seen spanning its width. Two cubbies are built into opposing walls. These small spaces were probably used to hold candles or lanterns to light the area.

Behind the house stands the great cooking fireplace of a summer kitchen. Posts now support a roof above this, transforming it into a summer pavilion. A small two-room stone structure to the side of the house was once a smokehouse, and a more recent garage and workshop stand near as well.

This farmstead sits on a tract of land patented as Resurvey On Salisbury. Henry Funk purchased 40.75 acres of this land from Francis Deakins and Richard Pots in 1798 for 1,700 pounds. John Funk acquired the property and sold it to John Sharick five years later.

On April 9, 1814, Sharick sold this tract with some additional land totaling 49 acres to Philip Schpracher (Sprecher) for $12,100. One of these early deeds refers to Schpracher as Sharick's heir.

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