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Lifestyle Home & Garden

Couple at home with history on storied property in Jacksonville

People driving down a two-lane road in Jacksonville often slow down at a large Maryland Historical Society marker with the heading "Quinn."

It reads: "500-acre grant in 1704 to Thomas Mac Nemara. Later called Sweet Air. Charles and Daniel Carroll, Mac Nemara's kinsmen, acquired the property and sold it in 1751 to Roger Boyce, who built the present house. It was purchased in 1785 for Henry Hill Carroll, who died here in 1804. His son, Henry Carroll, sold it in 1838."

This could almost be a page from a 200-year-old courthouse document, were it not for the fact that a three-story, brick colonial sits at the end of the lane as a monument to the past.

Peter and Anna Mae Woytowitz purchased the 4,540-square-foot home, built in 1751, along with 100 acres from the Abercrombie family 43 years ago.

Dr. Robert Abercrombie, who acquired the property in 1937, researched the home's history and published an extensive account of what originally had been called "Sweet Air," until it was discovered that the house stands on a portion of ground that was part of a land tract bearing the patent name of Quinn. Either way, the marker describes one of the earliest homesteads in the Jacksonville-Baldwin part of Baltimore County.

"When we bought it, the 100 acres was being developed and subdivided," said Peter Woytowitz, an 89-year-old retired attorney. "As a lawyer, I worked with the developers. For me it was an investment — we sold lots and developed the land."

Over the years, the couple, who raised four children in the house — the youngest was 4 years old when they moved in — made very few changes to a property they found in fine condition. It has five bedrooms, two full bathrooms, three half-baths, a large second-floor sitting room and an enclosed sleeping porch.

In 1999, their home was featured on the Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage Tour. The guidebook for the tour states that Quinn's exterior walls "contain unusually large brick laid in Flemish bond" and that it is "one of only two houses on the Western shore of Maryland erected in the mid-18th century with pattern brick."

The front entrance opens onto a center hallway with a graceful oak staircase climbing to the third floor. Twelve-foot ceilings belie the home's overall depth of only 22 feet.

A drawing room is on one side of the hall with a large dining room on the other side. Oriental carpets sit on floors of wide-planked oak that, like most of the interior architecture, is original.

Other interior architectural gems include four fireplaces with ornate dentil molding carved at the mantels. In the drawing room, two arched recesses flanking the chimney serve as niches for simple framed artwork and occasional tables.

"It was fun furnishing this house," noted 85-year-old Anna Mae Woytowitz. "I found all of the furniture at auctions, private sales and galleries. The rugs I found advertised in the paper."

The dining room furnishings include an 8-foot-long Chippendale style mahogany table with six high-backed matching chairs. The wallpaper above the room's chair rail is a large Jacobean-style flower print. Period wallpaper, also in a flower print, is found in the drawing room along with a star treasure — an original Chickering grand piano in Baroque styling.

Each of the second floor bedrooms has brick fireplaces with carved fireplaces. The master bedroom contains a centrally placed four-poster bed. The bedrooms on the third floor are used when family comes to visit.

"It has been a good place to raise my children," Anna Mae Woytowitz said. "We had barns, horses and a practicing ring for them."

Whether thinking about the history, the furnishings or the grand parties the couple used to have, her husband added, "Everything about this house has a story."

Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Send an email to homes@baltsun.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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