Here is a map of some of the historic resources we will be looking at in this project, as well as others in the "historic core" of Bladensburg. The Magruder house will be first to be examined, with fieldwork beginning on the 4th of May. Here is a little information about the Magruder House:
The Magruder House is also known as the Old Stone House or the William Hilleary House. It is located along the Maryland State Highway right-of-way at Kenilworth Avenue, 47th Street, and along historic Annapolis Road (Maryland Route 450). This house is the only representation of an eighteenth century stone, gambrel-roofed house in Prince George’s county. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Not only is this structure important for its architectural attributes, but also for its role during the War of 1812.
The house was built out of sandstone by William Hilleary ca. 1742-1746. The 1798 Federal Direct tax list describes the house as one and a half stories high, 43 ft by 30 ft. The property once held outbuildings that included a log washhouse, a frame milk house, a stone meat house, a hen house and a framed stable with shed. In 1793, Hilleary sold the property to Richard Henderson, a prominent merchant, land speculator, and County Justice. George Washington noted his visit to the house in his diary in 1787. Five years later, Henderson sold the property to his business partner, Dr. David Ross. Dr. Ross, a surgeon and merchant, was a founding inhabitant of Bladensburg. Other prominent owners or occupants to the house during the 19th century include Dr. Alexander Mitchell, Leonard Deakins, Dr. William Draine, Dr. Benjamin Day, and Dr. Archibald Magruder (National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form).
During the War of 1812, the home allegedly played a strategic part. It is believed that the invading British troops passed this house on their way to Washington DC due to it’s proximity to the battlefield. It is reported that the only American civilian resistance at Bladensburg came from within the Magruder House. After the battle, the house was reportedly used as a hospital (National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form).
The Maryland State Highway Administration purchased the property in 1954. The Prince George’s Heritage Inc. has since taken ownership and beautifully restored the home with the financial collaboration of Millard T. Charlton & Associates, an accounting firm (owned by Dick Charlton who spoke at our first workshop) who currently occupy the space.