A Stylish Outdoor Museum In Middletown

Dated: 02/24/2020

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Drive down alternate Route 40 from Braddock Heights and you enter an eye-catching museum on East Main Street.

Many of the houses you encounter are loosely termed “Victorian” in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain who ruled from 1837 to 1901.  Throughout Middletown, which was founded in 1767, a variety of houses reflect the 1800s with distinctive designs.  These are featured in a visually appealing little book called Historic Middletown that describes in word and picture the unique architectural character of the town.

A new way of constructing houses began to emerge, with 2x4 boards nailed together replacing braced, heavy timber framing.  This allowed designs to develop beyond the traditional box-shaped house that one can still see today at 100 Main Street.  This example is often called the Federal Style that became popular during and after the Revolutionary War.

The Greek Revival house design was popular from 1825 to 1860.  One concept that influenced its development was the mental connection between the democratic ideals of America and their roots in Ancient Greece.  A fine example of this style can be seen in the brick and white trim house at 308 West Main St.

The “Maryland Farmhouse” concept added stylish features that illustrate the Gothic Revival period of 1840 to 1880.  Its vertical approach boasted high pitched roofs and steep gables, and two small buildings at 19 West Main show some of these emphases.

The Italianate design period from 1840 to 1880 featured low-pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, and cupolas (towers).  The Second Empire design closely followed in the period from 1855 to 1885.  Its highlight, the mansard roof, a dual-pitched, hipped roof with molded cornices made it really stand out in a neighborhood. 

A lot of decoration accompanied the Eastlake look in the period of 1860 to 1880.  These “curvilinear” features included decorative scrolls, beaded spindles, and lattice work on porches.

So, the next time you drive through this fascinating outdoor museum in Middletown, see if you can distinguish some of these 19th century styles.  And if you’re in the market to buy such an historic home, please contact us.

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Roger Franks

Roger has been a resident of Maryland for over 30 years. He brings a solid background in sales and customer service along with an expert knowledge of Frederick County and the local community. He is pa....

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