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Stagg Hall


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Stagg Hall comprises several lots (47, 48, and parts of another collectivelly called Parnham's lot) of the 1728 platted town of Port Tobacco. The dwelling—a gambrel roofed, two-story framed building—is one of only three surviving 18th-century buildings in town. Stagg Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and lies within the National Register District of Port Tobacco.

Location of Stagg Hall within the historic district

Location of Stagg Hall in Port Tobacco. Click for larger view.

Built c. 1740 for John Parnham, a prosperous Port Tobacco merchant, Stagg Hall (CH-13) is one of a remarkably small and steadily diminishing number of Charles County buildings dating from the first half of the 18th century. More importantly, its historic architectural integrity is unmatched by any other pre-Revolutionary War structure recorded in this section of lower Southern Maryland. Of additional significance is the fact that its center hall two-room plan and gambrel roof predate by as much as a quarter-century or more other representations of their form in this locality.

Equally notable aspects of its architecture include the preservation of an impressive amount of its original interior woodwork. Of the latter, its finely crafted stair, the paneling and cupboard of its principal first floor room, and the treatment of the upper chambers, are of particular interest. Overall, it is an exceptional building of inestimable value to the study and interpretation of domestic architectural development in this region during the colonial period. Stagg Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 29, 1988.

An archaeological survey of Stagg Hall and the adjoining Chimney House parcel in December 2007 identified intact deposits dating to the 18th and 19th centuries, including the remains of one or more buildings along the Commerce Street frontage of Stagg Hall.

Stagg Hall Main Fireplace

Main fireplace in Stagg Hall exhibiting original woodwork.

The interior woodwork ia original to the building. A museum in Chicago acquired the paneling and removed it for an exhibit in the early 20th century. The late Robert Barbour purchased it from the museum and reinstalled it in the 1990s.

Main facade of Stagg Hall

Similar dwellings dating to the second half of the 18th century and the very early years of the 19th century occur along much of the East Coast and well documented examples can be found in Annapolis and at the old Charlotte Hall Military Academy, now the Charlotte Hall Veterans' Home off Maryland Route 5 in neighboring St. Mary's County.