The architecture buff might consider exploring the Mt. Victoria - Rock Point area of Charles County, Md., which is south of Washington on Route 301 and is reached by turning left on Route 257. The 13 mile route to Cobb Island passes some landmarks of great interest.
One of these, known as the Lancaster House, stands abandoned at Rock Point. The Historic Sites Inventory of the Maryland Historic Trust says it was built around 1830. This might be accurate for the two story major portion replete with its Victorian amenities at front and gable ends.
The earlier wings, to the South and west, in the rear, are probably 100 years older. Here is colonial construction in its purest form. Window openings are sparse in size and number, in deference to the sometimes severity of winters in the Tidewater region.
A a later time this brick extension probably served as a kitchen for the complex. Originally, in the early 18th century, this was probably the entire structure as first constructed.
Th e immense free-standing chimney is colonial construction in its purest form. Massive in width and depth, it nevertheless steps out from the gable end a full foot in the interests of fire prevention. One might wonder why this preventive measure was justified, in the light of the tiny, almost uninhabitable loft above the living quarters below.
No dormer window breaks the steep roofline here and only a tiny single opening by the chimney stack tells of the only ventilation available to the early 19th century resident who had to sleep in these crude quarters.
There is another proof of antiquity here. West of this massive chimney, barely withing the limited space between rear wall the chimney, itself, is a doorway scarcely five feet high. We know from our Gunston Halls and other well-documented homes of the 18th century that our ancestors were considerably shorter than we are, today. Here, though, is an external doorway to challenge the imagination.
The Lancaster House tells us that the early 18th century builder here created as best he could for the creature comfort of his time. Unknnown to him, he also built for the ages.