Spectacular in its lonely setting facing the Atlantic Ocean, Brownsville is currently owned by the Nature Conservancy and serves as its Eastern Shore headquarters. Originally built for John Upshur, whose ancestor John Browne patented the land there in 1652, the three-bay “big house” of Flemish bond brick has an impressive set of attached buildings in the Eastern Shore manner. In addition to the usual sequence, Upshur added a long wing in 1809 to house numerous relatives. The overall quality of the Federal structure is high, and the detailing, such as the Doric entrance portico with Chinese Chippendale railings, is rare on the Eastern Shore. The interior woodwork is sophisticated: a wide, carved arch divides the cross hall, and the parlor has seventeen different patterns worked into wood and plaster.
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