Reverend Hanson House // 1853

This Carpenter Gothic house in Gardiner, Maine, was built in 1853 by Reverend J.W. Hanson, author of the 1852 History of Gardiner, Pittston and West Gardiner and the second minister (1850-54) of the Universalist Church (last post), after its organization in 1843. Hanson was likely inspired by the design of his church when having his own home built, as he followed the Gothic mode. His house features board-and-batten siding, bargeboards, and trefoil windows and carvings in the said bargeboards. Reverend Hanson lived in the home until 1868 when he moved to Dubuque, Iowa. The home is very well preserved and one of the best examples of the Carpenter Gothic style in the state.

Mary English Cottage // 1911

This shingled beach cottage on the southern tip of New London, Connecticut sits in the Neptune Park community, which was laid out by real estate speculators as summer homes, primarily for local families. The Post Hill Improvement Company made up of professionals, purchased the beach and the surrounding land for $25,000 and began selling off the land adjacent to the beach. Then, once developable lots were sold and many cottages were built, they sold the beach alone back to the City for the same sum of $25,000. Like many such developments, deed restrictions were placed on properties, and ensured that only a dwelling house, with a minimum value of $2,500 if not waterfront and $3,000 if waterfront, could be constructed on the lots. This formerly Colonial Revival cottage was built in 1911 for Mary R. English, and would have cost at least $3,000. The shingled home was later given the tower and other details, but retains much of its charm.

Kickemuit Cottage // 1869

Summer is here and I am missing my favorite place to explore, Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. The town is sleepy most of the year, but in the Summer, the place explodes with summer residents and tourists, providing such a lively and diverse atmosphere. One of the most beautiful of the cottages in the Wesleyan Grove campground is the Kickemuit Cottage, built in 1869 for a family from Rhode Island. They so-named the cottage after the Kickemuit River which runs from Massachusetts through Warren, RI and spills out into the Mt. Hope Bay. The story goes that this double cottage was actually just a single peaked home until it was combined with another giving it the double-peaked appearance we see today. The cottage retains the turned posts, delicate gingerbread detailing, and the lancet windows and doors. Swoon!

Side note: If anyone has a cottage in Oak Bluffs that they’ll let me rent, I would love to be in touch!

C. A. Brown Cottage // 1886

Located just south of Portland Head Light, on the rocky ocean shore of Cape Elizabeth, is the settlement called Delano Park, a group of summer cottages, many of which were designed by iconic Maine architect John Calvin Stevens. Arguably the most significant and interesting is this Shingle style cottage, completed in 1886 for Charles A. Brown of Portland as a summer home. The cottage, sits atop a fieldstone foundation that are the very color of the ledges out of which the building grows. The walls above the are of shingle, “untouched by paint, but toned a silvery gray by the weather” as Stevens noted in his writings. Stevens was a master in siting his designs perfectly into the existing landscaping, and by covering all of the home with shingles, Stevens created an unembellished, uniform surface, which celebrates the honesty of its form. The home originally had a wood shingle roof, finished with a green stain. The home remains extremely well preserved by the owners and showcases the Shingle style of architecture brilliantly.

312 Ocean House Road // c.1870

This charming home in Cape Elizabeth, Maine looks to have been built after the American Civil War, as an interesting Italianate cottage. The home is clad with scalloped shingle siding which works well with the paired round headed windows facing the street. The deep overhanging eaves are supported by brackets. Running under the eaves on the sides are octagonal windows, a very unique detail. The home is located at the center of town, away from the summer cottages which sprouted up along the rocky coastline in town starting around this time. It was converted into condominium units sometime in the late 20th century.

Crystal Palace // c.1870

The Crystal Palace cottage Pequot Avenue in Oak Bluffs was built by Henry Clark, a local builder of many summer homes on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The cottage is a charming blend of Stick, Shingle, and Queen Anne styles, which works perfectly. The wrap-around porch is supported by turned posts with a balustrade capped by urns, the square tower has two elongated windows with eyebrow lintels resembling a face with bushy eyebrows. Oh the charm of Oak Bluffs, architectural eccentricity on every street!

“Seas the Day” Cottage // 1875

This quaint little summer cottage in Wesleyan Grove was built in 1875 for Hanson Arnold, a merchant and methodist from Woonsocket, R.I. The home is typical of many other summer cottages in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, with its delicate stick work, turned posts, full-length porch, and second story balcony with pierced bargeboards. The home was at one point named “Seas the Day”, a trend of naming the cottages occurred sometime in the 20th century by families who summered on the island, many incorporating the family’s name somehow. The home was restored recently with all new detailing and a reversion back to the original porch configuration.

Riday-Evans Cottage // c.1880

This cottage on Ocean Ave in Oak Bluffs was built before 1880 for J.F. Riday, a manager at the American Mail and Export Journal at the Wesleyan Building on Bromfield Street in Boston. The quaint cottage was photographed shortly after it was built with Riday and two women (one likely being his wife) posing on the front porch overlooking the ocean. By the early 20th century, the home was owned by George and Corielle Evans, a couple from Mexico. They likely modified the home with the shingled siding and front porch with sheltered balcony above, while the original lancet windows and doors remained.

Jones Cottage // 1876

This charming little cottage in Oak Bluffs was built in 1876 for Charles N. Jones, a resident of Medford, MA who had a home built there in 1872. His family’s summer cottage on Martha’s Vineyard was designed by the Ripley Brothers, Alonzo and Walter, carpenters who lived in town and designed and built many of the charming little summer homes there. The home features a wrap-around porch, a covered balcony at the second floor, and pierced board balustrade and cornerboards. Oh, and the paint scheme is perfect!

Aunt Georgia’s House // c.1880

Located on the iconic Circuit Street in Oak Bluffs, this Eclectic Victorian cottage has a storied past related to Black history on the island. Even though Oak Bluffs was a relatively safe place for African Americans to be, there were still limits on their rights. In some parts of Oak Bluffs there were laws that said that certain property could only be owned by whites. The island became a vacation spot for thousands every summer in the 19th century and seeing a lack of options for Black travelers, Mrs. Georgia O’Brien and Ms. Louisa Izett began to operate an inn for people of color. The inn was one of two such residences in Oak Bluffs and has since been listed on the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard. The home has since been named the Tivoli Inn and retains much of the original gingerbread trim. In recent years, Martha’s Vineyard was given the nickname, “The Black Hamptons,” due to its popularity as a place for wealthy African-Americans to vacation, it remains a very diverse island in summer months.