Prior to 1899, the Ladies Sewing Circle of Waterford carried on a lending library at the Ambrose Knight store, run by Sarah and Carrie Knight. Interest in the library grew and more room was needed for books. The Knight sisters began construction of a stone building, but both died only a few weeks apart in August 1911 during its construction. The building was completed in 1912. On Oct. 1, 1937 a fire destroyed parts of the library and other nearby buildings. In early 1938, the library’s second floor was reconstructed in the new Dutch Colonial style, giving the library a very different look.
Bear Mountain Grange Hall // 1844
This large wooden building in Waterford, Maine, looks much like a church, because it was built as one in 1844! The building was constructed as a Universalist Church just over a decade after a local Universalist Society was formed in the area in 1830. In the subsequent decades of the church’s founding, dwindling membership by the time of the Civil War required the group to sell the building to local businessmen. The town rented a space in the building which used a floor as a school, after an additional floor was added to the base, giving the building the vertical appearance it has today. in 1896, the Bear Mountain Grange purchased the building as a meeting hall, allowing the school to operate in the building (an arrangement that lasted until 1949)! The building has seen better days, but besides the chipping paint and some wood-rot, it retains the original windows and has been relatively un-altered!
Ambrose Knight House // c.1810
The most architecturally significant example of the Federal style in Waterford, Maine, is this c.1810 home built for Ambrose Knight, who operated a store in town. The high-style Federal home features a well-proportioned fanlight over the entrance with a Palladian window above, all with geometric moulding. The home was likely built by a housewright who employed designs from Asher Benjamin’s pattern books for builders, as the high-style features and Palladian windows are uncommon in this part of Maine.
Dr. Leander Gage House // 1817
Dr. Leander Gage (1791-1842) came to Waterford from Bethel, Maine in 1817. He erected and lived in this Federal style house which overlooks much of the South Waterford village. Gage was a prominent medical practitioner in town and involved in local politics as a moderator at town meetings and as a school committee member until his death. The home has a Federal style stable and 1840s barn attached and had remained in the Gage family until at least the 1980s.
Waterford Congregational Church // 1928
Upon first glance, this transitional Federal and Greek Revival style church building in Waterford, Maine, appears to date to the early-mid 19th century, but things are not always as they appear! The Waterford Congregational Church we see today was actually built in 1928, after a fire that year destroyed the previous building, constructed in 1837. The congregation hired Maine architect John Calvin Stevens, who designed over 1,000 buildings in his career. The church was “masterfully recreated in almost every detail” from the 1837 building, down to the 1,200-pound bell cast from the historic Revere foundry bell.
Waterford Odd Fellows Hall // 1904
Built soon after a massive fire destroyed much of North Waterford Village in Maine, the Iocal order of Odd Fellows decided to rebuild, constructing this building for their members. Though active for several decades after the building was reopened, an aging and dwindling membership forced this chapter to merge with the Odd Fellows of nearby Norway, Maine. After, this building was occupied by the Daughters of Rebekah, an auxiliary group of the IOOF for women until 1973 when it was donated to the recently formed Waterford Historical Society. The society has since moved, and listed the building for sale in 2020 for just $10,000!!
North Waterford Congregational Church // 1860
The Town of Waterford, Maine was created as the result of a 1774 grant made by the General Court of Massachusetts to the descendants of a company of Massachusetts soldiers involved in a 1690 expedition against the French in Canada, leading to the Battle of Quebec. The land was surveyed in 1774; in spring of 1775, David McWain of Bolton, Massachusetts arrived with his dog at a lot he bought for $40. He cleared land and built a log cabin, returning to Bolton for two winters until he settled permanently at Waterford in spring of 1777. The town grew around agriculture and industry with sawmills built at streams to manufacture the region’s abundant timber into lumber. The town later became more of a resort area in the early 20th century, with urban-dwellers flocking to the area to take in the fresh air and natural scenery.
This church in North Waterford is located in a more rural part of the town, and was constructed in 1860 by a group of local residents from designs by Maine architect Thomas Holt. The Italianate influence is evident from the round-arched windows set in a recessed arch and a bracketed cornice. The steeple looks to be more contemporary and slightly turns, giving it a really interesting presence.
Stephen Cummings House // 1886
One thing about Victorian-era houses that I love so much is the fact that it’s so rare to find two houses that are the same! The uniqueness and detail is just amazing and stalking these homes never gets old! This 1886 beauty was built as a double-house for Stephen Cummings of Norway, Maine. Cummings was a member of the family which built many of the grand homes in town as they ran a woodworking and carpentry company. Architect John B. Hazen designed the Stick style home with a octagonal bay at the facade, capped by a tower, giving the home a sort of pagoda effect.
Edwin Cummings House // 1908
This two-and-a-half story mansion sits on a steep hillside overlooking Downtown Norway, Maine. The home was built in 1908 for Edwin Cummings, who appears to have been a son of Charles B. Cummings, who ran a profitable woodworking and carpentry firm in the village. Charles Cummings was the owner of the Evans-Cummings House (featured previously) and updated it to show off his carpentry skills. The house here is a great example of Neo-Classical architecture with the monumental columns to create a prominent portico. The home retains the original windows which really complete the facade!
Cox Farmhouse // c.1835
This colorful cape house sits in rural Norway, Maine. The home appears to date to the 1830s or 1840s and was a gentleman’s farm in the early 20th century. A gentleman farmer was a landowner who would farm for pleasure rather than profit or sustenance. It was typically a role that wealthier city-dwellers took to feel more like the average Joe! A 1880 map of the town shows the owner as an F. Cox but I don’t know much more than that!