Bostwick is one of only four pre-Revolutionary War structures still standing in Bladensburg, Maryland. It was a grand home, built for Christopher Lowndes who was a leading citizen and local merchant in Bladensburg. His trading company imported spices, building materials, dry goods, and slaves. He also owned a shipyard where ocean-going vessels were constructed as well as a ropewalk that manufactured the cordage necessary for shipping lines.
Lowndes bought the property for Bostwick in 1742, and the house was completed in 1746, as attested by a lead plate on the south chimney that contains the following inscription, ‘C.L. 1746.’ The house has been in the hands of only three families during its 250-plus year history. When Christopher Lowndes died in 1785, it became the property of his daughter, Rebecca, who was married to Benjamin Stoddert who served as the country’s first Secretary of the Navy. The house was already experiencing structural problems as Stoddert constructed a series of buttresses along the south and west sides of the building. In addition, the Stodderts also constructed the separate kitchen building that sits just a few feet from the northeast corner of the house.
Following the deaths of Rebecca in 1802 and Stoddert in 1813, the house was purchased by John Stephen, a lawyer and local judge. Bostwick remained in the family for many years. After the death of John Stephen in 1844, ownership of the property passed to his son, Nicholas. When Nicholas Stephen died in 1881, his daughter, Julianna Duedionne, became its owner. Julianna’s husband, Jules Duedionne, was an artist and painted the two murals in the large south drawing room. The Duedionnes, however, lost the property in 1891 when they defaulted on the mortgage.
Bostwick was next purchased by Mr. and Mrs. James H. Kyner in 1904. The Kyners made extensive renovations to the property including the addition of the Greek revival front porch as well as the addition of the dormers on the east and west sides of the third story. They also replaced many of the windows, most particularly the front windows on the first story and the Palladian window in the library. New front and rear entrance doors were also put in place during this renovation. Significant changes were made at this time to the interior as well, most noticeably the new stairway and ornamental wall treatments in the central hall, stairway, and library. Upon the death of Kyner and his wife, Bostwick was inherited by their daughter, Susanna Kyner Christophane. Mrs. Chirstophane’s daughter, Susanna Yatman, owned the property until she sold it to the town of Bladensburg in the late 1990s.
*All information was taken from Bostwick’s National Register Application dated 1975.