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Built circa 1792, Chanceford is an excellent example of a temple-fronted Federal residence with an adjoining hyphen and wing indicative of the stepped or telescoping character of the Eastern Shore’s domestic architecture. Erected on the eve of Snow Hill’s heyday as the seat of Worchester County and the center of trade and commerce for the Lower Eastern Shore, Chanceford’s construction foretold Snow Hill’s rise to prominence between 1800 and 1860. It is one of the few extant structures dating to the eighteenth century and the most ornamental and well-articulated residential structure of its era in Snow Hill.
The house was built for James Rownd Morris, a wealthy landowner and politically prominent member of Lower Eastern Shore society. The newly erected Wye House, the home of the prominent Lloyd family, may have influenced Morris’s selection of the temple-front design. It was among the Eastern Shore’s earliest examples of a form that was widely used among the wealthy planters of this region during the early part of the nineteenth century. Chanceford is a somewhat unusual example in that the bays are closely spaced and the roof steeply pitched, perhaps a reflection of its more compact semi-urban setting. Likewise, the stepped or telescoping form demonstrated by the rear wing and hyphen at Chanceford became commonplace along the Eastern Shore by the late-eighteenth century, among vernacular as well as finer houses. The form derived from the construction of separate kitchen and other service buildings to supplement the limited space in early hall-and-parlor dwellings; these previously separate structures were eventually joined to the main block by hyphens or colonnades. Later examples of the telescoping form such as Chanceford, however, were actually erected during a single building campaign.
Chanceford is a two-and-a-half story, gabled-front residence, nearly square in shape, whose main block is a double-pile, transverse hall plan that is connected by a hyphen to a two-story kitchen and dining room wing. The characteristically symmetrical five-bay-wide facade includes a center entry with pedimented frontispiece and ornately patterned transom. The sizeable pediment in the gable end is ornamented with a modillion block cornice and includes a large bull’s-eye window with a muntin design in the shape of a six-point star above three six-over-six sash windows. The hyphen connects the main block to the kitchen and dining room wing. The interior woodwork in the first story of the main block is exceptional, including intricately carved cornices and mantels that include punch-and-gouge work and are different in each room. Other details of note include crossetted doorway and window frames and wainscoting framed by pilasters.
Judge William Whittington purchased Chanceford in 1801 and named it Ingleside. The house passed to his daughter and remained in the family until 1874. It was renamed Chanceford by John Warner Station, who owned it during the early to mid-twentieth century. Chanceford is located in a residential area of Snow Hill just a few blocks from the downtown and is currently used as an owner-occupied guest house.
Foreman, Henry Chandlee. Early Manor and Plantation Houses of Maryland. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Bodine and Associates, 1982.
Touart, Paul B., “Chanceford (Ingleside),” Worcester County, Maryland. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1993. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
Whipple, Scott. “Snow Hill Historic District,” Worcester County, Maryland. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1993. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
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