East New Market

Property Reports

3 Academy Street

Smith Tax Office

For more information about all properties at this location see the Northwest Corner.

In deeds from 1898 to 1901, the Smith Tax Office is described as "the shop occupied by James R. Stevens."  From 1901 to 1905, the structure is described as "the shop occupied by George W. Elliott."  The building is shown as a 1-story office on the 1922 Sanborn Fire Map.  In a deed from 1936 it is described as a 2-room office.   Hamill Smith has owned the office since 1956.  Smith is the son of an earlier owner, Emma Helsby Smith.

One theory is that this building is the one that appears on the 1877 map in the approximate location where the Saxton & Parker store now stands.  The Smith Tax Office may have been moved when the Saxton & Parker store was built.  Or the 1877 map may have had the building slightly out of position.  All stores, shops, and office entries in the 1896-1910 tax records for East New Market have been accounted for.  None match the Smith Tax Office or the Saxton & Parker store.  However, the Smith Tax Office could have been used as a dwelling at the time and been listed in a tax record for Helen Helsby as one of the "small dwellings near the store house".  Helen Helsby's store house is known as Helsby's Corner Store which was built in 1882.  The tax value for two small dwellings was $500.  This would seem more reasonable for the small Smith Tax Office.  Since the Saxton & Parker store is much larger and more valuable, the structure would not likely be considered a "small dwelling". 

If the Smith Tax Office structure had been moved at some point, it is possible this structure was part of the Newton property.  If so, it would likely be the structure listed as the shop in Margaret Newton's 1876 tax record and as the lot now occupied as a dwelling and Post office in Nimrod Newton's 1872 Will.  This would also lead one to believe the 1860 tax entry of $150 for "improvements to shop" for Nimrod Newton would indicate a likely construction date.

If the structure was always at this location, this would indicate the building could be the old storehouse referred to in the division of Thomas Helsby's property in 1874 and the shop listed in Causine Helsby's 1876 tax record.  However, the 1877 map only shows one square on this property and it does not abut Academy Street.   The square matches the size and the 1922 location of the structure currently thought to be the Blacksmith Shop.

Tax Office 2008

From the Maryland Historical Trust - State Historic Sites Inventory Form - 1985

Hamill Smith's tax office stands on the north side of School Street (MD Rte 14) near the main intersection of East New Market, Dorchester County, Maryland.  The single-story frame commercial building faces south with the gable oriented on a north/south axis.

Probably built during the third quarter of the nineteenth century, this single-story rectangular off-ice is supported by a minimal brick foundation and covered by a steeply pitched wood shingle roof.  The office building is sheathed with a combination of flush vertical board siding that distinguishes the front and plain weatherboards that cover the other three sides.  It is thought by some town residents that this building has been moved at least once, but its original site has not been determined.

The south (main) facade is a single bay elevation with a partially glazed front door centered on a field of flush vertical boards that rise to form a stepped parapet front.  The east side of the small building is marked by an asymmetrical fenestration with a vertical seam in the weatherboards that divides the building in half.  A pair of six-over-six sash windows pierce the east wall.

The west wall, on the other hand, includes a combination of two-over-two and six-over-six sash windows as well as a four-panel door that opens into the rear room.  An interior brick stove stack rises through the roof.  The brick of the stove stack has a greyish color that matches other brick in town used during the early twentieth century.  This feature may suggest the date when the building was moved and a new stack built. The north gable end wall is pierced by a single six-over-six sash window.  The interior is divided into two nearly equal sized rooms.  The finishes have been generally renewed.

Hamill Smith's tax office is an important nineteenth-century commercial building that has survived in the center of East New Market.  Small frame shops such as these characterized many Eastern Shore towns at one time, but most have been replaced by larger structures.  The single-story, two-room building is distinguished by a vertical board parapet front, an architectural feature that has not survived on many store buildings on the Eastern Shore.  It is thought by some town residents that the tax office formerly stood on another site, but that location has not been determined.