Lady Pepperrell was born as Mary Hirst in 1704 to a merchant in Boston. She married Captain William Pepperell, a merchant and major landowner in what is now southern Maine (but was then part of Massachusetts), in 1723, and settled into their massive gambrel Colonial house in Kittery.
After William Pepperell died in 1759, Lady Pepperell built a dower estate just down the street as her son, William Pepperell Jr., moved into the old family estate. It is believed that Mary Pepperell hired architect Peter Harrison, a British architect who is credited with bringing the Palladian style to the thirteen colonies. His major works in the region include: The Touro Synagogue in Newport, King’s Chapel in Boston, and both the Christ Church and the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House in Cambridge.
The home is similar to the Longfellow House in Cambridge with its symmetrical facade, center hall plan, and a two-story central pavilion which is flanked by Ionic pilasters with a pediment above.
The home was eventually sold off and by the 1970s, gifted to Historic New England, who operated the estate as a house museum. It was under-visited and later sold to private owners with intense deed restrictions to preserve not only the exterior, but landscaping and interior spaces.