Historic Sites and Buildings
Although Samuel Chase began building this house in 1769 while he was a young lawyer, he never resided in it, for he sold it unfinished in 1771 to Edward Lloyd IV, a wealthy Maryland planter and politician. Lloyd immediately engaged architect William Buckland, newly arrived in Annapolis, to continue construction, completed 3 years later with the aid of local architect William Noke.
The structure, one of the first three-story Georgian townhouses erected in the American Colonies, ranks among the finest of its type in the United States and is one of the major attractions in Colonial Annapolis Historic District. The house rises three full stories over a high basement. Two massive interior chimneys protrude through the broad, low, hip-on-hip roof. The brick walls are laid in Flemish bond and adorned by belt courses of rubbed brick at the second- and third-floor levels. An enriched cornice embellishes the roofline. At the front, or east, facade the axial line features a tall, projecting central pavilion and entranceway, an arched window on the third floor, and crowning pediment with a small bull's-eye window.
Of particular note is the entranceway, in essentially a Palladian motif. The three-section composition was rarely used in Georgian houses before the Revolution. The door is topped by a fanlight and flanked by two panels of sidelights. 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. The triple windows on the second floor over the entrance door and the arched windows in the center of the three on the third are also unusual.
The sides of the house lack architectural distinction, but in the rear a large Palladian window within a brick arch ornaments and lights the interior stair landing. The only exterior alterations are a three-story wooden screened porch and adjoining steel fire escape on the south side of the structure near the west corner.
The floor plan is typical of the center hall type of house, with four rooms on each floor, except that lateral halls divide the front and rear rooms. The unusually large center hall is dominated by a magnificent stairway and a pair of free-standing Ionic columns bearing a full entablature. A parlor, large dining room, sitting room, and breakfast room are located on the first floor, which has been only slightly altered. A small back stairway is adjacent to the breakfast room. Ornamentation of the plaster ceilings and doorways is outstanding. The dining room, the most elaborate room, contains an imported Italian mantelpiece that is richly decorated. The second floor is also exquisitely ornamented.
The Lloyd family owned the house until 1847, when Chase's descendants acquired it. In 1888 one of them bequeathed it to the Protestant Episcopal Church for use as a home for elderly women. It is in excellent condition and is well maintained. The first floor is open to visitors and contains some items that belonged to the Lloyds or to the later Chase owners. The upper two floors are utilized for the ladies' home.
Last Updated: 04-Jul-2004