Captain George W. Nowell and his wife, Frances, the daughter of the wealthy Capt. William Jefferds, built this elegant Italianate style home in 1854 that stands on Temple Street, next door to the Kennebunkport Post Office. George was a sea captain, following in his father’s footsteps and also invested in several of the ships he sailed, but had the fiscal foresight to insure his interests against loss. His prized ship was named “Tropic” and she was launched in 1855, less than a year after his house was built. On a cold December day in 1862, Nowell, captaining The Tropic left Philadelphia with a cargo of coal for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company in San Francisco. She and her crew of 20 were never heard from again. George was not yet 40 when he perished. His youngest son, Frank, never met his father and was only 8 years-old when his mother passed in 1872. Shipbuilder David Clark bought their Temple Street home and George’s brother took his children to live in Bangor.
The captain’s reputation as a prudent and charitable man was recognized by Victoria, Queen of England. She awarded Capt. George W. Nowell, of the ship Tropic, an engraved spyglass in testimony of his humanity in rescuing her subjects, the crew of the Village Belle, of Nova Scotia. The telescope and a certificate, signed by the Queen, have been proudly protected by the Kennebunkport Historical Society.
The family home features bold corner quoins, bracketed door and window hoods, and paired rounded arch windows at the top floor.