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Eastern Shore Real Estate

Dec 12, 2011 10:49PM ● By Anonymous
Off the Oxford Road in Talbot County, not too far from town and down a private tree lined drive, sets “Jena.” The main structure is brick and it has been lovingly maintained and preserved. It is a very early and fine example of historic Federal-style architecture.

Originally built circa 1800, Jena has been improved and enlarged with frame wings and additions. It’s historic integrity is well intact with a great deal of original woodwork, double parlors, graceful stairway with curving newels, and formal and informal gardens. It was built on the site of an earlier frame farm dwelling and renamed Jena in 1821, at the suggestion of the owner’s friend. The friend was an ardent admirer of Napoleon and intrigued by his habit of naming his homes after his victorious battles.

Jena offers a mixture of historic and modern appointments. Boasting five fireplaces, a guest house, updated and well-equipped kitchen, and grand master bath, it is both gracious and comfortable. Jena’s historic charm and value are further demonstrated by its original Joseph Dufour wallpapers. Joseph Defour et Cie became famous, in Europe and then America, in the very early 1800s producing and distributing original panoramic and repeating block print wall papers.

This beautiful historic home is situated on just under 3 acres on the banks of Goldsborough Creek, a tributary of the Tred Avon River. The new owners were most attracted by the historic nature and value of the property, it’s close proximity to Oxford, and it’s lovely water views. The new owners took possession in September of this year for $1.1 million.

Jena is listed on the Maryland Historic Property list and is also a registered as a National Historic Site. I imagine this holds great appeal, as well as a great sense of responsibility, for the new owners. Historic property owners are very special stewards of architecture and our community heritage, they are to be commended for their interest and efforts.

Contributions: Robert Shannahan, Shoreline Realty, (co-listing and selling agent), and Sharon Woodruff, Benson and Mangold, LLC (co-listing agent)

Historic Hotel Turned Waterfront Retreat

The Bellefonte Hotel is located in the small historic seaport of Claiborne, in Talbot County, just below the town of St. Michaels. This was one of just a few boarding houses that were established in this area at the turn of the century. The Claiborne and Annapolis Ferry and the Baltimore, Chesapeake, and Atlantic Railway brought summer visitors to the Eastern Shore. Many went on to Ocean City but others stayed here in Claiborne and surrounding towns for extended summer holidays.

This substantial hotel sits high on a knoll above the Chesapeake Bay and faced the ferry landing and railway. It still enjoys commanding and wide views of Eastern Bay and is extremely reminiscent of a bygone era when rocking chairs, chatting, lawn games, and sharing meals were respectfully enough to measure a full day.

Maryland State tax records show the hotel was built in 1900. Historical research has been published that supports the actual structure was built in, or shortly after, 1902. That is the year that six Baltimore businessmen got together to form The Claiborne Hotel Company. The hotel operated for many years until murmurs of a bridge to cross the Chesapeake Bay, and then a second story fire, brought business to a halt.

A local plumber purchased the property and rebuilt it into a residence with two upper floor apartments, all enjoying the magnificent wide water views. In 1969, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hamm bought the hotel and shared the living quarters with their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Reilly who sold it to the most current sellers.

The new owners were most attracted by the high elevation and breath taking views. Their plans are to keep much of the exterior original and maybe restore some of the dormer systems to original state. They intend to keep the waterside porches and exterior architecture. They may be reconfiguring the interior of the home to suit their living style while preserving the historic nature.

The Bellefonte Hotel sold for $865,000 this September. It is listed on the inventory of properties of Maryland’s Historical Trust and for substantial reasons. If you drive through the hamlets of Maryland’s Eastern Shore don’t miss a drive through Claiborne; quaint, charming, and with historic merit.

Contributions: Dawn Lednum, Chesapeake Real Estate Plus, , listing agent and Roger Clark, Lacaze Meredith Long & Foster, , buyers agent