Historic Shay House c.1794
This is an exquisite home located on the Sharpsburg town square, near Antietam Battlefield. During the Civil War, this extraordinary 3 story, 7 bedroom home operated as a tavern and later as the City Hotel. Now a tastefully restored and renovated residence, with a prime location & an abundance of commercial potential, this is a home of rare & beautiful distinction.
This property has had a colorful history and reflects the life and times of the town of Sharpsburg. One of the earliest buildings in Sharpsburg, it was a residence built of brick & stone on the main public square. At the time of Civil War, it was Elie Wade’s Tavern, selling whiskey to soldiers for $5.00 a canteen. During the battle of Antietam, it was used as a hospital. Post war it became the Harper Hotel and then the Shay House. There is documentation of a 25th anniversary reunion (1887) of Union soldiers meeting at the Shay House for their celebration. From about 1900-1920 it operated as the City Hotel and its “City Hotel” sign can be seen in many vintage photos of the town square. Sometime in the early 20th century, the stylish gambrel roof and expanded front porch were added.
With its deep window sills and spacious rooms, this significant Sharpsburg home features historic detailing and modern amenities, including original wood floors, fireplaces with wood mantels, pocket doors, original door hardware, chair rails, as well as, a master suite with wall to wall carpet & spacious bathroom, gas range, third floor central air conditioning, new plumbing, up to 5 car garage with expansive second floor, and more…
The town square location allows for many commercial opportunities, including a home business, a retail shop & B&B – Principal Permitted Uses.
The Shay House is also centrally located to many important destinations, including the C&O Canal, Appalachian Trail, Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg, DC, and Baltimore, with easy access to the MARC train in nearby Brunswick.
101 East Main Street is a south-facing, vertically massed, symmetrical, two-and-a-half-story, stone and brick, freestanding, residential structure on a stone foundation. Set directly at the public-right-of-way on the town’s main square, the building is the only example of Dutch Colonial Revival architecture in the town. It should be noted, however, that the Colonial Revival detailing is mostly likely a 20th-century addition to a 19th-century Greek Revival building. The 20th-century detailing includes the addition of the gambrel roof and front dormers, as well as the open porch that extends across the facade of the building. [Or is the entire building a late 18th-century example of Georgian architecture?–the brick in the gambrel makes one suspicious] Although the first two stories of the building appear to be constructed of stone, the 1922 Sanborn (which could be incorrect) indicates that it is built of brick and encased in stone. The most imposing feature of the structure is its high side-gambrel, slate roof with its deep eaves, cornice, and heavy modillions. The roofline is broken by two, front-facing, gable dormers with stylized pediments and pilasters. The gambrel ends are of brick construction and bear two attic windows. The raised entrance is located in the east bay and consists of a recessed, panel-and-light door flanked by glazed sidelights and topped by a tri-partite transom. Pilasters divide the door from the sidelights. A raised, hipped-roof open porch shields the front facade. It is composed on Tuscan columns set on brick piers that are connected by a slat railing. Windows have been replaced by double-hung, one-over-one lights. Each has a stone sills and lintels. The elevation facing Mechanic Street has a stone watertable and a three-bay eastlake porch shielding the side entrance which appears to be a modification to the original structure.
excerpt from Julie Mueller, June 1991 – Maryland Historical Trust
When George Washington became President of the United States of America in 1789, he looked at the area between Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown (Virginia) as a possible site for the permanent location of the U.S. Capital. It would have occupied both sides of the Potomac River in the same manner as the site he eventually chose further down the river at Georgetown and closer to his home at Mount Vernon.
Construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal began at Georgetown in the District of Columbia in 1828 and reached Sharpsburg around 1836. Working on the canal then became a welcome employment opportunity for many of the townspeople.
The Battle of Antietam, or Battle of Sharpsburg as it was referred to by the Confederate Army, began at dawn on September 17, 1862. About 40,000 Southerners under the command of General Robert E. Lee were pitted against 87,000 troops of the Federal Army of the Potomac commanded by General George B. McClellan. At day’s end and the end of a pivotal event in the Civil War, 23,110 men and boys were dead, wounded, or missing. The sense of community shared by the people of Sharpsburg provided the strength by which they overcame the devastation of the battle and rebuilt their town. Veterans and families later made their pilgrimages, walking from the train station through the town to the National Cemetery. The town’s Memorial Day Parade, begun in the 1860’s, was the first in the nation and continues today as an occasion of solemn remembrance.
Maryland Historical Trust
Having been founded in 1763, the Sharpsburg Historic District derives additional historical significance for its association with the 18th century settlement of the then-western-frontier of Maryland and its role in the development of the lower Antietam Creek area as an agricultural and transportation center. The town of Sharpsburg served as a social and commercial hub for the surrounding agricultural region, and for travel and commerce on the C&O Canal. The Sharpsburg Historic District is also architecturally significant for a remarkably intact and cohesive collection of houses, churches, and other buildings chronicling the town’s development from the initial settlement period through the mid 20th century. Sharpsburg is well known for its impressive stock of Georgian-inspired stone houses. There are also several early-19th century Federal-style brick houses that anchor the town square. The town’s streetscapes are comprised of vernacular interpretations of Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Colonial Revival architectural styles. An unusually large proportion of the buildings in Sharpsburg are of log construction.
The Shay house is located in the heart of the Town Center District. This is prime commercial/residential positioning for many already permitted uses.
This District provides area where single-family detached homes would each be on minimum 10,000 square foot lots. Retail, service, office and other appropriate non-residential uses would also be directed to the Town Center for the purpose of perpetuating this area as Sharpsburg’s “business district”.
Principal Permitted Uses
Principal Permitted Uses and Structures: Only the following principal uses and structures are permitted in the “TC” district.
1. One dwelling unit in combination with permitted commercial use.
2. Group Home within a Lawful Existing Dwelling Unit, and meeting the additional requirements of Section 513.
3. Churches and other places of worship.
4. Private or public primary or secondary schools (other than Child Care Center or other similar uses or trade schools), subject to the following additional provisions. 22 a) Dormitories or other living accommodations for faculty or students shall meet the minimum requirements of Section “A” as applicable. b) A lot area of not less than 5 acres shall be required. c) Lot width of 300 feet shall be required. d) No part of any building shall be located less than 75 feet from any adjoining lot line in separate ownership.
5. Child Care Center, subject to the following additional condition: (See also as an accessory use in Section C). a) In a Residential District the use shall be conducted in a building designed for residential occupancy. b) A lot area of not less than 20,000 square feet shall be required. c) On a lot having the permissible minimum area, the total number of children registered and/or cared for on the premises shall not exceed 10 and for each additional child 1,000 sq. ft. of lot area above the minimum, one additional child may be registered and/or cared for on the premises. d) Any outdoor play area shall be located in the rear yard and its boundaries shall be at least 10 feet from any lot line. e) Outdoor play areas shall be sufficient screened and sound insulated so as to protect the neighborhood from noise and other disturbance. To fulfill this requirement, screening may be located anywhere on the lot as needed.
6. Trade or professional school, music, dancing or hobby school.
7. Library or museum, open to the public or connected with a permitted educational use, and not conducted as a private gainful business.
8. Community center, adult education center, or other similar facility operated by an educational, philanthropic or religious institution subject to the following provision: a) The use shall not be conducted as a private gainful business b) No outdoor active recreation area shall be located nearer to any lot line than the required yard depth.
9. Public building or use owned or operated by Sharpsburg.
10. Office or clinic for medical or dental examination or treatment of persons as out-patients including laboratories incidental thereto.
11. Offices for professional, business or governmental purposes, including but not limited to medical, law, real estate, insurance, accounting and manufacturer’s representatives offices. All offices must meet the requirements of the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. .
12. Retail stores selling antiques, apparel, art supplies, beverages, books, cards, confections, dry good, drugs, fabrics, floor covering, flowers, foodstuffs, furniture, garden supplies, gifts, hardware, hobbies, appliances, jewelry, luggage, music, musical instruments, novelties, paint, equipment, periodicals, shoes, sporting goods without firearm or ammunition sales, fishing supplies, stationery, tobacco and similar use.
13. Service business including barber, beauty shop, laundry and dry cleaning, shoe repair, photographer, caterer, health club, pet grooming, travel agency, tailor repair shop for watches, guns, bicycle, locks.
14. Bank or savings and loan association.
15. Non Franchised Restaurant without drive-thru service
16. Newspaper; printing establishment
17. Theater, indoor. 23
18 Entertainment and recreation facilities operated as a gainful business within a building.
19. Emergency Service Station.
20. Home occupation (see definition in section 201 and regulations in Article 5 Section 518)
21. Bed and Breakfast (see Article 5 Section 514)
“Special Exceptions” allow for even more opportunities.
Principal Permitted Uses & Special Exceptions
History of the Ninth Regiment NYSM – Excerpt of 25th anniversay (1886) reunion Antietam Battle held at the Shay House
Images of America-Sharpsburg – Shay House as the City Hotel c.1877
Maryland Historical Trust – McGraw-Shay House
SharpsburgHistoricalSociety – Deed abstracts for 101 E. Main St. back to 1795
Memorial Illumination – Antietam Battlefield
Sharpsburgmd.com – History of Sharpsburg
Maryland Historical Trust – Sharpsburg Historic District
National Register of Historic Places – Sharpsburg Historic District
Ordinances – Sharpsburg town & zoning ordinances
Zoning Districts – Sharpsburg Town Center Map
Principal Permitted Uses & Special Exceptions – Excerpts Specifically Relating to the “TC” Town Center District
National Park Service – Antietam Battlefield
Updated on January 9, 2019 at 11:38 pm
Historic Shay House c.1794 - 101 E Main St, Sharpsburg, MD 21782, USA
Historic Shay House c.1794 - 101 E Main St, Sharpsburg, MD 21782, USA