Date Listed in the National Register of Historic Places: 9/2/2001

Description: Built in the 1850s, Oakwood is a 2 1/2-story, double-pile plan, frame vernacular farmhouse with Greek Revival influenced details. The main block is three bays wide. An original two-story frame wing projects from the south gable end of the main house. This wing is three bays wide and one room deep, and its front fašade is set flush with that of the main block. The brick foundation under both sections is continuous. The main house features a pitched gable roof covered by modern composition shingles. Two 6/6 dormer windows, accented with partial cornice returns, pierce the east and west sides. The boxed cornice features dentiled frieze below the soffit and a complex crown molding above. An internal brick corbeled fireplace chimney slightly offset to the west of the ridgeline, stands at each gable end. The kitchen wing's roof pitch and covering are consonant with the main building. The roof is pierced at the south gable end by a brick fireplace chimney of the type found on the main block. A tall, narrow, semi-exterior stove chimney breaks the roofline slightly left of center on the west fašade. Both the main house and the wing are sheathed with asbestos shingles applied over early horizontal siding. A classically styled front porch dominates the fašade. Built to replace an earlier porch about 1895, it features a dentiled cornice and four Doric columns. The principal entrance is located in the center bay of the east fašade. The original door is distinguished by a six-light transom and flanking sidelights. Flanking Greek Revival style pilasters, related to the earlier porch treatment, stand between the door and window openings. A second floor doorway aligns with the principal entrance below. Fitted with double French doors and topped by a three-light transom, the opening provides entrance to a small balustraded balcony. Fenestration in the main blocks' front (east) fašade consists of four 8/8 sash windows. The kitchen wing's front fašade features three 6/6 windows on each floor. A c. 1894 bay window projects from the front of the first floor's east side, glazed with 2/2 sash windows. The main block's rear fašade contains four bays. Each first floor opening contains a pair of French doors, topped by a three-light transom. Transoms appear original, while the doors date to the late 19th or early 20th century. Second floor windows match those on the front. A one story porch spans the first floor.

Significance: Oakwood is historically significant in the areas of agriculture, architecture, and politics and government. A highly intact, mid-19th century tobacco plantation dwelling, Oakwood is significant as it reflects important trends in agricultural practice in Anne Arundel County, including the slave-based economy of the ante-bellum period and the post-war transition to a free labor system. The property is also significant for its association with Sprigg Harwood, who constructed Oakwood between 1850 and 1860. Harwood held a variety of political offices and was a leader in the failed initiative to have Maryland leave the Union and align with the newly formed Confederate States of America. The house is architecturally significant for its Greek Revival-influenced decorative detailing, and its unusual floor plan which is more commonly seen in urban contexts in the period.


Photo credit: S. Marsh, 10/99