One of the larger Shingle style homes in Kennebunkport, Inglesea Cottage, was designed in 1889, possibly by Henry Paston Clark, who designed or worked on many homes and buildings in the summer colony. The original owner, Dr. George Frederick Brooks, a doctor based out of New York, who spent his childhood on the coast of Maine, and decided to spend his elderly summers there. By 1903, the home was purchased by Ms. Lucy Fay (1864-1937) of Fitchburg, MA, who hired Henry P. Clark, to add the cross gambrel addition to enlarge the home. Lucy Fay was the daughter of the the wealthy industrialist George Flagg Fay and his wife, Emily Upton, and upon their deaths, inherited their fortune (her sister died at just seven years old, making her an only child). The home remains in impeccable shape and is a head-turner everytime I drive down the coast.
This whimsical, eclectic town hall building is one of the most unique in. New England. Located on Main Street, the Swansea Town Hall was formally dedicated in 1891. The building served multiple functions including the town library (until the current library was built less than a decade later), meeting hall, and even could be used for funerals of “christian denominations”. After the library was built next door, the interior was updated with more space for town offices, coinciding with the population growth and development closer to the water. The building was designed by Boston architect J. Merrill Brown and represents the blending of many styles including Romanesque and Arts & Crafts. The rubblestone construction, tied with the clock towers above the steeply pitched hipped roof add many layers to the design.
One of my favorite religious buildings in New England has to be the Park Street Church. The church is the major work of English-born architect Peter Banner, who drew his inspiration from St. Brides Church in London by Christopher Wren. Banner was assisted by Solomon Willard, later the architect of the Bunker Hill monument, who served here as chief carpenter and carved the capitals of the steeple. The congregation of this evangelical Christian church was formed in 1809 in response to the so-called “Unitarian landslide,” a theological upheaval which resulted in 15 of 17 Boston Congregational churches succumbing to Unitarianism, with many members leaving the Old South Church. The church building was erected at a cost of $71,000 on the site of the old granary, which had served as a repository of grain for the poor. When it was completed, people arriving to Boston could see the steeple from anywhere (the Back Bay was not filled in yet), and British author Henry James called the church, “the most impressive mass of brick and mortar in the United States” when he visited Boston.
The steeple was recently restored by the congregation and looks phenomenal! Fun Fact: The church was the tallest building in the United States from 1810 to 1846 when the Trinity Church in New York was built!
The First Congregational Church of Nashua is arguably the best example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the city. Built in 1893, the church was designed by Worcester architect Amos Cutting, who designed many significant civic and institutional buildings in the Romanesque style. The building is constructed of granite quarried from Marlboro, New Hampshire and the 118′ bell tower houses 15 bells which were exhibited at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 and then purchased and given to First Church by Miss Mary P. Nutt. The church has done an amazing job preserving the historic granite structure, while building additions in the past to serve its various purposes.