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This color postcard is circa the 1960s, and shows some of the tour guides in what they then believed were historically correct dresses.
The large tree standing at the corner of the home was taken out in the early 1980s; the ivy growing up the side was eventually eradicated. Note the open third-floor windows, something which was no longer necessary after air conditioning was installed in the home.
The front of the home faces in mostly a northern direction, so this photo shows the home's eastern side. The third floor had only one room, and when I worked there (1988-1991), it was fixed up as a 19th-century nursery.
Legend has it that a ballroom or music room once filled out the other half of the home's third floor on the west side of the hallway. A fire at some point in the mid-19th century damaged the home, and the roofline was adjusted to compensate for the loss of the room.
My theory? I'm not sure Federal Hill ever had a west wing. The home was built in stages, and I don't believe the legend about the fire. I never had a chance to know the guys who worked on the restoration that took place many years ago, so those guys may have a better idea about what was there than I do!
The Stars Outside the Home: Depending on your luck, your tour guide may or may not know what he or she is talking about when you visit Federal Hill. One thing they may tell you that is rooted in truth is the use of the number 13.
John Rowan was a Federalist, mean he was a believer in the establishment of a strong Federal government (hence the name Federal Hill).
Rowan designed the home to reflect his Federalist beliefs: Each flight of stairs has thirteen steps; there are thirteen windows across the front of Federal Hill; the ceilings are 13' high; and the walls are 13-inches thick.
Don't believe your guide if he/she says there are 13 stars on the exterior of the home. The stars are there solely to help keep the walls straight, not as decorations or a nod to any political belief. I do like them, however!
Trivia: The third-floor nursery also had a door to the attic, and it was wonderful! Besides storage, you could see the original roof slats from the home's first roof, as well as some interesting construction details.
Inside this little attic space is a hatch that takes you out the roof of the home. You can see it on the roof, it looks like a rectangular flat box, but its a hatch that gives maintenance guys and roofers easy access to the roof.
After an extremely hard windstorm, you might find this hatch cocked up or raised a bit. I noticed this after our recent winter storm (Jan. 10, 1999) as I drove past the park.
The nursery also had a large, silver-plated box that carried an inscription that it held the master blueprints for Federal Hill. I would love to have seen them, but the box was empty. These plans were created many years ago when the state purchased the home. Apparently somebody wanted a very unique souvenir.
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