Built circa 1792, Mount Republican is among the grandest and best articulated examples of Federal architecture in southern Maryland. It is also one of the earliest manifestations in the county of the side passage and double-parlor plan that became popular in this region by the early nineteenth century and endured until the end of the Civil War. Mount Republican was the centerpiece of a tobacco plantation, situated at the top of a rise with commanding views of the Potomac River Valley visible from its riverfront facade. The house was built for Theophilus Yates and his wife, Anne, on property that they received in 1775 from Anne’s parents, Henry and Elizabeth Hawkins.
Distinctive features of Mount Republican’s Federal styling include its Flemish bond brick construction, parapet end walls with corbelling and diamond-pattern glazed brick near the roofline, and flush paired chimneys. The house’s elaborate cornice is ornamented with fluted triglyphs and guttae detailing and diamond pattern metope. Front and rear frontispieces include oversized round-arched fanlights with tracery and sidelights. The riverfront facade is matched with the opposing carriage front, where it is approached via a tree-lined drive that terminates in a large circular formation. A two-story, four-bay service wing was added about 1820 to create a telescoping configuration that is indicative of houses of the period. Two single-story, twentieth-century additions further accentuate the structure’s telescoping form. The interior includes a broad center hall with an open suspended staircase, adjoining parlors, and elaborately ornamented three-part mantels.
Mount Republican was erected during a period of stability established after the Revolutionary War that lasted until the War of 1812, when British raids along the Potomac River compelled many to leave the area. Tobacco remained the primary crop during the time of Mount Republican’s construction, and it stands as a testament to the wealth that a few large landholders attained through a slave-based tobacco economy. Although the builder/designer is not known, striking similarities with two other well-crafted Federal houses in the area, Waverly and West Hatton, suggest the work of a local master builder.
Brown, Jack D., et al. Charles County, Maryland, A History. Charles County Bicentennial Committee, 1976.
Charles County Commissioners. “Charles County Historic Preservation Plan.” July 2004.
Hardy, Cathy, “Mount Republican,” Charles County, Maryland. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 2001. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.