Historic Structures

Chase Lloyd House, Annapolis Maryland

Date added: November 30, 2018 Categories: Pennsylvania House

The Chase-Lloyd House, 22 Maryland Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland, was built 1769-74 with interiors by William Buckland and is one of the first of the large, full-three-story brick Georgian town houses to be erected in the English colonies. Its every detail evidences an effort to achieve the ultimate in magnificance. The Chase-Lloyd House is not only the finest three-story brick Georgian town house in the Southern colonies, but it ranks with the finest similar structures in the Northern colonies, namely, the Reynolds-Morris House (1786-87) at Philadelphia, and the John Brown House (1768-87) at Providence, Rhode Island. The Chase-Lloyd House is also the only three-story brick town house erected in Annapolis prior to the Revolution.

Construction of the Chase-Lloyd House was begun in 1769 by Samuel Chase, lawyer and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. In July 1771 he sold the partially completed house to Edward Lloyd IV, wealthy Maryland planter and owner of the Wye House plantation, for nearly 3,000 pounds. In December 1771, Colonel Lloyd engaged the architect William Buckland, newly arrived at Annapolis, to complete the structure. Buckland worked on the project from 1771 to 1773 as did Annapolis architect William Noke who took over after Buckland withdrew. The elaborate plasterwork of the interior was executed by Rawlings and Barnes, who had arrived in town from London in 1771. The house remained in the hands of the Lloyd family until 1847, when it was sold to Miss Hester Ann Chase, a descendent of the owner who had started the residence. In 1888 a member of this family bequeathed the house to the Protestant Episcopal Church as a home for elderly women.

The Chase Lloyd House is a full-three-story brick structure over high basement, 54 feet wide and 43 feet deep, with a broad low hip on hip roof and two massive interior chimneys. The roof covering is slate, installed within modern times. The high walls, 18 inches thick, are laid in Flemish bond and adorned by belt courses of rubbed brick at the second and third floor levels. The roof line is marked by an enriched cornice. The axial line of the east (front) elevation is emphasized by the tall, narrow, three-bay wide, projecting central pavilion, with its doorway, arched window on the third floor, and crowning pediment with a small bull's eye window. Particularly noteworthy is the entrance doorway, a three part composition rarely used in Georgian houses before the Revolution. Similar expanded doorways are to be found in the Schuyler Mansion (1761-62), at Albany, New York, and the William Gibbes House (c. 1779), at Charleston, South Carolina.

The door, topped by a fanlight with slender muntins, is separated from the flanking, wide, rectangular side lights. The three openings are framed by two engaged Ionic columns and two Ionic pilasters, which support an entablature that becomes an open pediment over the door. On the second story, above the door, is a triple window repeated with an arched center window on the third. The windows are topped by flat arches of rubbed brick; windows on the first two stories have six over six light sash and those on the third floor six over three sash. The side elevations of the house are without architectural features. There were probably secondary entrances on the northeast and southwest, giving access to a lateral hall. That on the northeast now opens to a later service appendage and appears to be original, matching the design of doors throughout the structure. The southwest opening has a modern door. Centered on the rear (west) elevation is a very large-scale Palladian window contained in a brick arch with plastered spandrel. This is a very effective feature not only on the exterior, but in the interior as well, where it occurs on the stair landing.

The basic plan of the house is of the four room, center hall type, except that there are lateral halls between the front and rear rooms. The scale of the plan, however, has unusual monumentality, dominated by a center hall, about 16 by 40 feet, which extends through the mansion. The rear third of this hall is screened from the front by a pair of free-standing Ionic columns bearing a full entablature; the use of the free-standing columns is paralleled elsewhere in pre-Revolutionary Georgian Interiors only at Cliveden (1763-64) at Germantown, Pennsylvania. The stair rises to a wide landing lighted by the immense Palladian window in the rear wall, and continues in parallel flights to the second floor. In these upper flights the usual supporting string pieces were omitted, and the scrolled step ends are echoed in the molded profile of the soffit across the full width of the stairway. This was a tour de force of construction in 1774, but in recent years it has been necessary to insert a post to reinforce the sagging flights. The stair is also unusual in the simplicity of its rail. The plain spindles are uncarved and even the newel posts are omitted as the rail curves around the landing in an uninterrupted sweep.

The fine ceiling of the Hall is of molded plaster; the center rococo motive is framed by a severe circle, with the thin delicacy of the relief heralding the light Adam style of the postwar era. The excellent ceiling of the parlor, to the left of the hall, has an even more geometric composition of shallow octagons. The door cases of the first floor rooms, though simply composed of pediments supported by architrave frames, are elaborately and individually carved. The six-paneled mahogany doors are of superlative quality and are equipped with wrought-silver handles. Much of the original hardware remains throughout the building.

The large dining room to the right (north) of the hall is the most elaborate room in the house. This is dominated by an imported Italian marble mantelpiece, with every detail richly ornamented. The cornice, window frames, door casings and chair rail overflow with carving. Windows are adorned by rope ornament, foliage, bead-and-reel, and the recessed panels underneath them are festooned with ribbons and clusters of roses and grapes. Lateral consoles adorn the sides and the interior shutters are decorated with octagons and rosettes. The former decorated plaster ceiling in this room fell some years ago. The sitting room is located in the southwest (rear) corner and a small breakfast room occupies the northwest portion. Adjacent to the breakfast room is a small back stairway, which ascends from the first to the third floor.

The architectural elaboration continues to the second floor where the closing wall is treated with a central pedimented doorway flanked by two semicircular-headed niches. The ceiling of the second floor hall is also decorated with plasterwork and there is a detailed cornice. Access to the bedrooms is through semicircular arches with panelled reveals. The original kitchen of the house was located in the basement.

The first floor of the house is little-altered and is open to visitors; the upper two floors are still used as a home for elderly women. The building is in good condition and the only exterior alteration is the threestory wooden screened porch, with adjoining steel fire escape, that has been added to the south end of the house, near the west (rear) corner. Only one landscape feature is thought to be original, a high grassy mound which runs laterally from the southwest end of the house blocking a view of the garden from Maryland Avenue. On the north corner is a modern one story service appendage, joined to a building called Chase Annex. Thought to date from the early 19th century, it now constitutes a separate residence.