About the Stamford House

As the Worthington Valley was approved for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, architectural historian James Thomas Wollon called Stamford “one of the most sophisticated extant dwellings.” In addition he observed that “alterations were superficial [and] that more original outbuildings remain than at any other property in the region.”

His description follows:

Stamford, the Philpot House, is a brick, two and one-half storey, five bay, gabled-roofed house.
Its principal facade is to the east, with a brick, two storey, three bay, gable-roofed north wing, and a brick one and one-half storey, three bay, shed-roofed west wing. The west wing is bonded into the main house, apparently of contemporaneous construction, while the north wing is not; the latter has no south wall, the main house serving that function. The detailing of all three sections appears to date from the same period – late eighteenth or very early nineteenth.

The east front of the main house is laid in Flemish bond with closers at the corners, above a moulded brick water table; all other walls, and the wings, are of common bond, each sixth course being headers. Jack arches, nearly two bricks in height, support masonry above the east windows, although applied wooden pediments, probably dating from the mid-nineteenth century, and associated flashing nearly hide them. A window at mid-storey height in the center bay of the west facade marks the stair landing. All windows except those on the west facade at the landing and in the second storey have been made a few inches narrower. 6/6 sash are in all altered windows, while 12/8 sash remain in the unaltered ones, which also retain their wide frames with applied evele backhand.

A flush chimney of brick rises from each end of the slated roof, flanked by two small attic windows. Three slated dormers light the attic storey through the easterly slope of the roof. The east cornice includes dentils and scrolled medallions, while dentils and me- dallions are omitted in the west cornice. All moldings return against the masonry at the corners, and cornice work appears original. A one bay, one storey hipped- roof portico shelters the principal entrance centered on the east facade. The entrance, with its paneled jambs, sidelights, transom and door, together with the porti- co, date from the mid-nineteenth century. A secondary entrance through the west facade, beneath the landing, with neither sidelights nor transom, retains the original six-panel door.

The shed-roofed west wing, extending from the north end of the main house, its taller wall to the north, flush with the north wall of the main house, has an entrance through its south wall, close to the main house, and another through the westerly bay of its north wall, now enclosed in the later one-storey frame addition. Windows are 6/6, and a chimney rises flush with the northwest corner. A straight mortar joint between the tall north wall of the wing and the north end wall of the main house, extending a few feet down from the peak of the wing’s roof, suggests that the wing’s roof was raised. A similar joint between the wing’s west wall and its chimney suggests the same. Otherwise, brickwork of all these parts is bonded and continuous, as though built at one time.

Additional entrances with original six-panel doors hung on strap hinges are through the center bays of both the east and west fronts of the north wing, with 9/6 windows flanking bays; 6/6 windows are above the first storey windows. Original wide frames with ovolo backhand remain, and the first storey windows have early blinds ,with widely spaced louvres. A brick chimney rises flush with the north gable. A jack arch supports masonry above the door; a rowlock course is above the windows.

Internally, a center hall, with an open staircase extending to the third storey, is flanked by a single room on each side. The original kitchen occupies the westerly two bays of the west wing, with a passage and pantry in the easter1y bay next to the main house, each accessible from the northerly room of the latter; a single large room is in the north wing. Enclosed winding stairs south of the kitchen chimney, and west of the north wing chimney, provide access to the upper stories of these sections. The principal staircase is original and unaltered, except for the removal of the half-rail and half-newels from the first floor to the second. The moulded handrail is supported by slim turned newels and balusters, the upper newels being finished with drop finials; scrolls decorate step ends. The staircase rises to the second floor in three short flights with two square intermediate landings, and to the third floor in two flights with one intermediate landing.

Both sides of the doors to the flanking rooms retain original architraves with crossettes, supporting an overdoor with pilasters of fluting at each end of the frieze, and a dentiled cornice. The doors themselves are mid-nineteenth century replacements, with six panels, the smallest ones being near the lockrail.

Chair rail throughout the first storey has been removed, but its evidence remains as a line of patched plaster. Corner block window trim of the south room dates from the mid-nineteenth century alterations of these windows; reveals extend to the floor. The original mantel remains, with fluted pilasters supporting a frieze similar to those above doors and a dentiled cornice. A dentiled cornice surrounds the entire room.
In the north room, overdoors similar to others in the house are above doors to the center hall, the west wing passage, the pantry ( also in the west wing), and the north wing, east of the chimney breast, with a taller pair of fully-raised paneled doors above a shorter pair, all with a crossetted architrave surround. The mantel is similar to the one in the south room. Doorways through brick walls have paneled jambs.

A passage out of the north room, near its southwest corner, leads along the south side of the west wing to the original kitchen. Its large fireplace, sized and fitted for cooking, occupies the northwest corner of the room. Heavy board, or ledger, doors hung on long strap hinges remain at exterior openings of the
west wing, and similar doors were between the kitchen, passage, and pantry. Board doors enclose the staircase and the closet beneath, hung on wrought HL hinges.

The mantel in the north room has been removed, but a built-in cupboard remains east of the chimney breast, enclosed with a taller pair of fully-raised paneled doors above a shorter pair. An enclosed winding staircase rises west of the chimney breast, with fully-raised paneled doors to it and a closet beneath. Chair rail remains in place. The second storey of the main house is similar to the first, with simpler detailing.

Overdoors are omitted. Chair rail remains throughout most of the second storey, except the east wall, where it was removed when these windows were altered. Original architraves with cressettes remain at west windows while the original material is reinstalled, without cressettes, at east windows. Mantels are very similar to those below.

The second storey of the west wing is plainly finished, undoubtedly servants’ rooms originally The third story of the main house is simply finished, probably c.1900 or slightly later. The unfinished
cellar extends beneath the main house only. Six early outbuildings remain; perhaps the rarest of them is the privy, of brick, 7 by 8 feet, with a gabled roof. Of common bond, with closers at the corners, its door is through the south facade, near the east corner. Masonry above is supported by a jack arch. A small window pierces each end wall, with a jack arch above. Wood elements of these openings are missing. Near the ground through the north wall is the long, low cleanout opening. The entire south front cornice is missing where joist ends and reef rafters are rotted away. There was a wood floor – now entirely missing.

Immediately north of the north wing is a stone smokehouse, one storey in height, with a gable roof, measuring approximately 16 by 18 feet. Its entrance is through a door in its south gable end, and four slit ventilation holes pierce each gable near the peak.

Immediately north of the smokehouse is a brick tenant house, two stories in height, with a gable roof. It appears to have been one storey in height originally. Window openings appear to have been cut through the original walls after their construction, and four closed slits in its north gable resemble those in the nearby smoke house, suggesting that the tenant house was originally an outbuilding, perhaps another smokehouse. Every fifth course in the original walls is a header course. Bricks of the upper storey and those of the south end, which appear contemporary with the upper storey, are badly deteriorated while the original bricks are in better condition. The narrowed doorway is centered on the east front and 6/6 windows are in flanking bays. Shutters and a small entrance portice are missing. Extending west is a shed-roofed frame rear wing covered with German siding, its form recalling that of the main house. The approximate dimensions of the original portion are 16.5 by 27 feet.

Standing south of the main house is a pyramidal roofed, one story stone dairy house. It measures approximately 16 square feet. Its entrance is through its north wall. A few log joists remain of a loft or second floor a few feet below the top of the walls. Window openings in both stories of its west and south walls have been closed with stone walling, but a louvred window remains in the lower portion of the east wall.

South of the dairy house is another one storey stone structure, measuring approximately 14 by 15.5 feet, with a hipped roof. Now a garage, 14 by 15.5 feet with its east wall removed for that purpose, it was undoubtedly something else originally, perhaps relat- ed to the nearby dairy. Like the dairy, its interior was whitewashed. A small window is through both the north and south walls, and a curious row of rectangu- lar recesses is in interior stonework high in the south wall.

Some distance southwest of the house is the tack house, which was originally a small barn or carriage house. Of stone, one and one-half stories in height, measuring approximately 20 by 40 feet, it had a large door centered in the east (front) wall, now enclosed with framed walling. A small window and a door of conventional size flank the (former) larger door. Three small windows pierce the west wall, and three dormers light the attic storey. Interior wood elements appear to date from the twentieth century, simple and utilitarian in design.