Annapolis Maryland Blog Photograph – Late 19th Century Victorian Influences On The Commodore Waddell House – Monday November 2nd 2015

Queen Anne & Eastlake School Architecture

The Circa 1822 Commodore Waddell House On College Avenue In Annapolis Maryland November 2nd 2015

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The Commodore Waddell House, on College Avenue in Annapolis Maryland, represents a variety of late 19th century Victorian architectural styles. One James Iredell Waddell constructed this residence in 1882 after an accomplished career as a Naval officer – USNA Class of 1841, in both the United States as well as Confederate Navy. It was during his exploits as commander of the CSS Shenandoah that he and his crew came to circumnavigate the globe from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.

On his numerous ports of call around the world Commodore Waddell was introduced to new and memorable styles of art, design and architecture, parts of which he would later incorporate into his Annapolis residence.

Featured above is a College Avenue perspective of Commodore Waddell’s house on an overcast November morning, seen with the two trees flanking the protruding front porch soon after assuming its deep brown Autumn foliage. The architectural style of the house has been defined by researchers as including Queen Anne as well as Arts & Crafts infused elements, in addition there are those who use the Craftsman label in lieu of the prior design style reference. As an aside I find that the previously noted front porch visually infers a Prairie School style, despite its gable end and high pitched instead of the more often used hip style roof.

The Eastlake Style Mudroom At The Circa 1882 Commodore Waddell House On College Avenue In Annapolis Maryland November 2nd 2015

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References to Commodore Waddell and his wife’s time residing at their College Avenue house includes a notation that they retained a live-in Japanese maid, who’s living quarters were located at the southern most end of the house. The above photograph is perhaps the exterior of the aforementioned maid’s quarters. It is this architectural feature of the house that suggests a combination of Eastlake Movement influences and Oriental style were used in its design, the latter would have been noted by Commodore Waddell during his travels in Asia. An interior layout document denotes this part of the house as a mudroom, where today it is possibly an in-home office.

In terms of the house’s ownership history after Commodore Waddell’s passing in 1886, and his wife Ann later in 1891, the house was conveyed to a niece who then sold it in 1904. The house was sold once again, in 1918, to a US Navy Admiral and his wife who donated it in 1927 to St. John’s College. By the early 1940’s the building saw use as a fraternity house, back in the days when the college permitted fraternities. From 1942 to 1960 the house was owned by members of the prominent Weems family of Annapolis. Later, around 1960, the next owner converted the building into apartments and it stayed as such until 1967. During the latter part of the 1960’s the house was purchased by a couple that set about restoring the building to it original use as a single family residence.

The next time you are walking on College Avenue consider spending a few minute taking in the distinctive architectural aspects and artistic features of this late 19th century Victorian style house,


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