The exterior appearance of the Elliot-Buckley House reflects the original mid-nineteenth century construction campaign and subsequent historic-period modifications. Built c. 1843, the cross-gabled form and T-shaped plan intimate the influence of the Picturesque movement and Andrew Jackson Downing’s book Cottage Residences (1842), and was by most indications inspired by the “Bracketed” models offered in that source. Original interior finishes were, with some exceptions, executed in the Greek Revival style and as such convey the transitional nature of the design and the shifting tastes characteristic of this era in domestic architecture, as new fashions were gaining currency and rivaling established aesthetic preferences. The original section is of heavy timber-frame construction with exterior walls sheathed with clapboard, the superstructure built above a raised basement with brick walls above-grade.
By c. 1890 the original plan included a small multi-story projection on the south side—this was by all indications not original— removed and replaced with a porch c. 1924, at which time a two-story extension containing a kitchen and service areas was added on the north side of the house. The rear elevation originally included a wraparound verandah, since truncated from its original extent. Finishes in the original section are substantially intact to the 1840s date of construction and include marble mantels and struck plaster cornices.
The Elliot-Buckley House is two stories in height with additional living space in the finished attic and basement. The symmetrically composed façade is oriented westward and is three-bays wide with a central cross gable corresponding with the entrance bay, the gable embellished with sawn brackets at the eaves. Two dormers punctuate the roofline, along with two chimneys, which once had decorative chimney pots but which are now terminated by bluestone caps. First-story windows are hung with six-over-six sash with fixed upper sash and feature ornamental casings with bracketed crowns. The glazed and paneled front door has a moulded wood casing with half-round fanlight and is of Colonial Revival inspiration, dating to c. 1924. Second-story windows are also fitted with six-light sashes and feature simpler moulded surrounds then those below. The five first and second-story windows, in addition to the smaller window corresponding with the cross gable, have louvered wood shutters. Cornices are boxed and moulded, extend prominently beyond the wall plane, and contain built-in gutters. The roof is clad with rolled asphalt. A front porch appears in a c. 1890 image; however, it has since been removed. It was by all indications original to the c. 1843 construction campaign. The original north elevation is largely concealed behind the c. 1924 addition, which is recessed slightly from the façade of the c. 1843 main block. It wraps around the original north and east elevations before terminating at the dining room projection. Nevertheless, visible are the westernmost first-story, second-story, and attic-story windows of the main block. The north elevation windows, and those on the remaining elevations, follow the pattern established on the façade, having more elaborated casings at first-story level. The eaves of the original section are embellished with sawn brackets and the cornices are boxed and moulded. As for the addition, it is two bays on the west elevation; two bays on the north elevation; and four bays on the south elevation.
Fenestration is asymmetrical, with four windows on the west elevation, three windows and a door on the north elevation, and seven windows on the east elevation. There are additionally two windows which bring light into the basement on the raised foundation of the east elevation. The north entrance is approached via a porch which is shielded beneath a small Tuscan-order portico. Cornices are moulded and feature returns on the north elevation. An exterior brick chimney is present on that elevation and is carried through the cornice near the gable’s apex.
The remaining part of the rear or east elevation, excepting the c. 1924 wing, includes the two-bay rear wall of the original house, which has paired windows at first story, second story, and attic level. These decrease in size moving upwards, with those corresponding with the first-floor dining room being floor length, having once communicated with the wraparound verandah. Above the remaining section of this c. 1843 verandah, which aligns the south elevation of the dining room’s exterior, is a screened-in sleeping porch, the roof of which is sustained by bracketed piers. The balustrade aligning this porch is the original verandah railing, as indicated by comparison with historic images. Rising from the ridge of the roof is a brick chimney, which retains one of its two original chimney pots.
The south elevation is fronted by the c. 1924 porch at first-story level, which is sustained by six slender Tuscan-order columns set on plinths, between which are sections of balustered handrail. This porch was erected above a brick foundation and is accessible from the parlor via a glazed door with a four-light glazed transom. Comparison of existing conditions with historic images indicates some alterations were made on this elevation at the second-story level, among them the continuation of the rear pitch of the gable roof to accommodate additional interior space and the addition of a small room which is cantilevered out beyond a section of the original verandah, near its intersection with the c. 1924 porch.
The main rooms on the first floor of the c. 1843 section of the Elliot-Buckley house have ten-foot high ceilings and retain the bulk of their original plaster and wood finish. Walls and ceilings are lime plaster on sawn lath. Wood trim includes 12-inch deep moulded baseboards and moulded door and window architraves. Among the door architraves are a number of a more elaborated type, being shouldered and terminated by crowns with ogee-form cornices. Original doors were six-paneled with inset mouldings and, like the remaining woodwork, are of Greek Revival-style characteristics; those which provide communication between the hall and the dining room, south parlor and library, are of a double-leaf folding type, of which one original set remains; of the remaining pair, one is a historic replacement and the other a more recent reconstruction. Many of the doors on the first and second floors have white-ceramic knobs and tulip-form escutcheon plates, representative of the original hardware treatments. Window openings have paneled wood aprons below and are fitted with folding wood shutters, which are paneled; windows in the dining room lack aprons, however, as they are floor length. The cornices which demarcate the transition between the wall and ceiling surfaces feature broad moulding profiles characteristic of Greek Revival design and are formed of struck plaster. As for the three first-floor fireboxes, they have cast-iron fire frames and are fitted with mantels formed from black or “Egyptian” marble. That in the parlor has a shallow Tudor-arched frieze and rounded pilaster capitals in keeping with developing Picturesque design mandates.
The main stair, situated east of the library, rises to a landing, turns ninety degrees and rises to a second landing, before turning again ninety degrees to reach the second floor. The lower section is of an enclosed stringer type, given the presence of the adjacent wall surface; from the second landing upward it is of an open stringer type, consisting of a balustered handrail sustained at the bottom by a turned newel post. The balusters are of tapered cylindrical form and not otherwise articulated as turnings. The main stair continues from the second floor to the finished attic story where the servant’s quarters were located.
The second floor contains a long, wide hallway around which are disposed four bedrooms, two anterooms, three bathrooms and a porch with a seasonal view of the river. Three of these bed chambers were original to the c. 1843 house, while the fourth is above the c. 1924 kitchen addition. The one above the original dining room was the master bed chamber, overlooking the river. All three original bedchambers have fireplaces with gray white marble mantelpieces. Other finishes in this original section included 10-inch deep moulded wood
baseboards and six-paneled doors with moulded architraves. Walls and ceilings are lime plaster on sawn lath. The two front rooms are 16-feet by 16-feet with a bathroom between. As for the attic, it has two central rooms situated beneath the cross gable, a bathroom, and two bedrooms.
The basement plan consists of four large rooms and connecting passageways, in addition to a large room beneath the c. 1924 north wing. Brick was used to form interior partitions in the historic section. There are cut bluestone slabs used for the floor surface of the original kitchen (the present furnace room), though overlaid with concrete. Doors are of a four-paneled type. An exterior entrance with steps provides access to the outside via bulkhead doors.
The north addition, c. 1924, includes the scullery, kitchen, service stair, and bathroom. The scullery forms a passageway to the kitchen and was fitted with cabinets and sink. The kitchen has been modernized and no longer reflects c. 1920s treatments.
Both the c. 1843 and c. 1924 sections of the house are of wood frame construction. Typical of the 1840s section is the combination of hand-hewn and sawn framing components, joined with square-rule framing techniques. Larger components such as sills, plates, corner posts and beams carrying major partitions were hewn, while the balance of the frame including studding, joists, braces and rafters were reciprocating sawn. The original house was built on a mortared stone foundation with brick partition walls in the basement and brick walls above grade. Flooring in the original house, on the primary and second floor, was of a standardized dimension, while that in the attic was of wider plank measuring from roughly eight to 12 inches. The sawn rafters, meanwhile, measure roughly three by six inches in dimension. There is what would appear an early twentieth century crystal chandelier with prisms in the dining room. Its aesthetics echo the sconce fixtures employed throughout the downstairs and one in the second floor hall. The
Marlboro area was electrified in 1908 and as such these post-date that event.
Outbuildings and Additional Resources
Located on the property is a large four-bay carriage house (c. 1843), which included a full basement with an entrance at grade on the east side where horses may have been stabled; anecdotal information suggests mules were housed under the southern bay. A large trap door in the floor of the barn allowed for the feeding of animals below. Framing, like that of the dwelling, consists of both hewn and sawn components. The southeast corner of the barn was used as an ice house and has walls insulated with sawdust. An apartment of four room on the second floor was created in 1976 from living quarters used by grooms and servants. Vinyl siding was installed over the damaged clapboards at that time. A wrought iron weather vane is present on the roof.