Teackle Mansion is a refined Federal interpretation of Maryland’s five-part-plan house, a form that appeared on rural plantations and in the state’s most fashionable urban enclaves during the last quarter of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. Located in Princess Anne, the county seat of Somerset County, Teackle Mansion falls into the latter category; it was built during a period of significant commercial growth for the town. Teackle Mansion reveals not only the wealth and prominence of Princess Anne, but also that of its original owner, Littleton Dennis Teackle, a successful merchant who established trade agreements with markets in England and the Caribbean, exchanging local grain for imported coffee, cocoa, and sugar. Teackle also served as president of the early Bank of Somerset and as a representative to the Maryland House of Delegates between 1824 and 1836. His estate was the largest and most impressive in Princess Anne, rivaling the finest houses on the Eastern Shore.
It is highly likely that the design for Teackle Mansion was inspired by that of Wye House (1781–1784), the home of the prominent Lloyd family in neighboring Talbot County. Both feature a temple-front design and hyphenated, gable-fronted wings. Unlike Wye House, however, Teackle Mansion is executed in Flemish bond brick. Its exquisite Federal period detailing includes plaster panels on the front facade of the main block ornamented by fruit-laden urns and grapevines, a frontispiece featuring reeded pilasters, rusticated wood jack-arched lintels, and large, thin-muntined nine-over-six sash windows. The pediment within the principle facade of the main block has a delicately carved wood cornice and features a decorative oeil-de-boeuf window.
Hallmarks of Teackle Mansion’s interior design include its fine plasterwork and its forced symmetry, mirroring the balance displayed by its near-identical front and rear exterior facades. The parlor and hall contain ornamental plaster in the form of large ceiling medallions, molded cornices, and arch imposts. Symmetry, both axial and radial, is manifested by such features as an arched niche that matches the stairway arch in the hall, an arch and false doorway in the parlor that mimics the arch and actual doorway flanking the fireplace, and windows in the interior partition wall between the hall and parlor that echo those in the opposing exterior wall, while also creating “borrowed” light.
The initial phase of construction in 1802–1805 encompassed the two-story, three-bay main block and the first two bays of the adjoining hyphens. The main block contains a broad transverse hall behind which is located a large formal parlor. Its five-part plan was not realized until 1819, when the hyphens were extended to its full four bays and the two-by-three-bay service and bedroom wings were completed. An unusual feature of the hyphens is the shed roofs that cause them to appear as two stories on the front elevation and as a single story on the rear (a form sometimes referred to as a “flounder”). While the gabled front and rear facades of the wings appear to mimic the temple front of the main block, the walls actually rise up to create parapets.
The landscape surrounding Teackle Mansion originally incorporated an elaborate garden and numerous outbuildings including the still-extant frame smoke house and brick combination wash house and dairy; no longer extant are the ice house, stables, granaries, poultry houses, and slave quarters. Further removed from the house is one of the two temple-fronted frame tenements that once flanked the entrance to the estate and were used to house servants.
Teackle Mansion is prominently situated at the terminus of Prince William Street with a viewshed towards the center of town. The property is currently owned by the Somerset County Historical Society, which raised the funds to restore the house in 1996 and has since opened it to the public. It is located within a residential section of Princess Anne, within proximity of the commercial main street, Somerset Avenue, to the east and U.S. Route 113 to the west.
Parish, Mrs. Preston, “Teackle Mansion,” Somerset County, Maryland. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1971 (easement and update, 1986). National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
Touart, Paul B. Somerset: An Architectural History. Annapolis and Princess Anne: Maryland Historical Trust and Somerset County Historical Trust, 1990.