Historic Structures

Building Description Hammond-Harwood House, Annapolis Maryland

The Hammond-Harwood House is a symmetrical brick building with a five-bay center section, flanked by two-story end wings with polygonal bays. The left wing, shut off from the main house, was used as a law office by Hammond. Kitchen and service rooms were housed in the right wing. The main body of the house is a simple rectangular block with hipped roof and slightly projecting pedimented pavilions on both the street and garden sides, decorated only by a beltcourse of rubbed brick at the second story level. All the windows are widely spaced and cleanly cut into the wall surface with only a rubbed brick lintel above each opening as decoration. Attention is focused on the central entrance bay by the second-story window with a classical surround and full entablature, visually supported by projecting consoles. Below the window the main, door, with its arched fanlight framed by engaged Ionic columns, creates the major focal point of the facade. It is unusually rich in the variety of ornamental forms. An egg and dart border surrounds the door and fanlight, joining them visually into a unit. Garlands of roses fill the spandrels between the fanlight and the architrave of the crowning pediment, with its ribboned laurel on the pulvinated frieze.

On the interior, no two rooms are identical in size, but an occasional use of false doors maintains the appearance of perfect symmetry. The two chief rooms are the dining room on the first floor and the ballroom above it. The windows of the dining room overlook the garden. One of the most unusual features is the door, cut into the paneling below the right window to form a door opening onto the garden. Here the desire for academic symmetry becomes most evident. This opening is treated like a window on the interior, although the dado panels are hinged to serve as a door. Outside, it is treated like a door, being on the central axis of the house and serving as a focus for the rear pavilion with its four giant pilasters of brick, topped by a rich pediment. The interior shutters are carved with resetted octagons, alternating with plain, elongated octagons, a motif used elsewhere by Buckland. A modillioned cornice, successfully scaled to the size of the room, completes the refined elegance of the dining room. Plain plaster walls and ceiling serve as a good foil to the elaborate detail. The fireplace and overmantel motif can be traced to Abraham Swan's British Architect, but the relationship is found only in the basic form. Buckland's imaginative treatment of established designs is very different from the dry copying of lesser craftsman, adding a variety and beauty of natural forms which contribute greatly to the value of the entire building. The large ballroom above the dining room has an unusually light and elegant cornice with small dentils in place of the heavier modillions. Below this is a delicate frieze of flutting alternating with small carved foliate panels. The main stairs, set at right angles to the main hall, have a gracefully curving banister, with the curl at the newel post echoed in the shape of the first step.

The building has remained essentially unaltered. Replacement of wooden steps and railing with a stone and iron one are the only exterior changes. A small brick appendage added at the southwest end blends well xjith the old buildings. Restoration of the kitchen and installation of modern heating were the only interior alterations.