The this 1830 home in Farmingdale ranks as one of the first Greek Revival temple style residences in Maine. Situated on a rise overlooking the Kennebec River, the house reflects a dignity befitting the commercial success of its original owner, Peter Grant. Peter Grant was born in 1770 in Berwick, Maine. He was a fourth generation descendent of an earlier Peter Grant, born in Scotland in 1631, and one of 3,000 Scots taken prisoner by Cromwell’s army at the Battle of Dunbar. In 1650, he was sent as a convict laborer to the iron works in Lynn, Massachusetts, for a term of seven years. A number of the Grant family settled in Berwick, Maine, and from there, Peter, builder of this house, and his father, Capt. Samuel Grant, moved to Gardiner. Peter Grant soon involved himself successfully in land speculation and shipping in the area. In 1796 he and a group of associates, purchased a large tract of land along the west shore of the Kennebec River, which later became Farmingdale. Grant became sole owner of better than 200-acres of this land in 1800 and built a substantial house soon after. The original house was destroyed by fire and was replaced by Grant with the present house in 1830 six years before his death in 1836.
Built in 1838, just three years after the Talbot House in Bristol, Rhode Island, (just two houses away), the Dimond House remains as the other of the two remaining Greek, temple-front homes in town. Like the Talbot House, this home was also designed by Russell Warren, but is unique as it is in the tetrastyle (with four columns) and utilizes the Ionic order with the capitals featuring volutes (scrolls). Additionally, a polygonal bay can be seen on the right side of the home. Images show that the bay features stunning lancet windows! The home was designed for Francis Moore Dimond (1796-1859), who was born in Bristol, and later traveled to the Caribbean and served for several years (1832-1835) as the United States consul at Port-au-Prince. It is entirely possible that Dimond was involved in the slave trade, but I wasn’t able to find more than a couple articles referencing his connections to the infamous DeWolf Family. From 1842 to 1849, Dimond was United States Consul to the Mexican port city of Veracruz. When he returned to Rhode Island, he promoted the Southern Pacific Railway and presided over its construction. He was elected lieutenant governor of Rhode Island in 1853. He became the governor of Rhode Island when Philip Allen, then Governor, resigned to become a Senator. He held the governor’s office just one year. He moved back to Bristol and lived out his final days at his home.
Anyone that has followed this account for a while knows at least one thing, I LOVE Greek temple-front homes. Designed by famed architect, and Bristol-native, Russell Warren, this 2-story, 3-bay, gable-roof Greek Revival house is one of the finest in the state. Its facade has a pair of fluted Corinthian columns, set in antis (where the side walls extend to the front of the porch). A simple side-hall entrance is framed by heavy Doric pilasters, supporting a broad, plain entablature, making this such a head-turning Greek Revival home. The walls are sheathed with horizontal flush boarding at the facade to give a smoother look and clapboards on the side and rear. The home was built for Josiah Talbot, a sea captain. The house is excellently preserved to this day, almost 200 years later.
I have a thing for temple-front Greek Revival homes, and this is no exception. This marvelous home was built in 1832 for Francis Dimon Perry (1809-1884), who inherited some of his father’s wealth and became President of Southport National Bank in town. He was a devoted member of Trinity Church throughout his life. Upon Mrs. Perry‘s death in 1893, couple left their residence to the Trinity Church to be used as the parish rectory.
Located across the street from the Congregationalist Church (now Town Hall) in Pomfret Center, the Methodists in Pomfret Vermont built this church building just a couple years after their neighbor was completed. Replicating the Greek Revival style seen across the street, the building showcases a templed form with projecting portico, as an excellent vernacular example of the style. Similar to its neighbor, this church was sold to the Town of Pomfret in the 1880s, modernized in the early 20th century, and converted to a district schoolhouse.
The only two-story temple-front Greek Revival home in the Upper Falls Village of Newton, MA stands on Elliot Street, on the same block as the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Catholic Church and Rectory. The home was built in 1838 at the present location of the church, but was moved in 1908 to its present location at the opposite end of the block for the erection of the large church. The original owner was Dr. Samuel Whitney, the village doctor who also operated his office out of the large house. By 1844, he moved to Dedham and sold the home and practice to Dr. Abraham D. Dearborn who ran his practice out of the home until the mid 1850s. After successive ownership by mill owners, the property was acquired by the Archdiocese of Boston who moved the home and used it as a rectory until the Colonial Revival rectory was built. The home has since been used as a parish center, but has not been well maintained over the years. Plans were unveiled in 2015 by a long-time resident to purchase the home from the Catholic Church for conversion of a community center with offices for non-profits, but it has not materialized sadly. Its future is unclear.
The majestic Greek Revival house on Maine Street in Kennebunkport was built in 1853 for Eliphalet Perkins III, a member of the Perkins Family, one of the earliest families to settle in the area known today as Kennebunkport. Eliphalet apparently sold the home to his son, Charles, who moved in within the year with his new wife Celia Nott. The couple decorated the ornate home inside and out with furnishings still retained inside after the Kennebunkport Historical Society acquired the building in 1955. The home is now known as White Columns, and houses the First Families Museum. One interesting thing I noticed is the rounded arch windows in the pediment, an awareness to the Italianate style which took over in the 1850s-1870s throughout New England, though this home is quintessentially Greek.
St. Paul’s Cathedral on Tremont Street in Boston is significant as the first church in the Greek Revival style to be erected in New England. Designed by two of the city’s most important Greek Revival architects, Alexander Parris and Solomon Willard, the church built in 1819 has survived largely intact as a fine example of the monumental Greek Revival aesthetic. Built five years before Quincy Market (also designed by Parris), this granite cathedral showcases the simple and bold characteristics of early Greek Revival design. The church is constructed of Quincy granite and Acquia sandstone from Virginia which are visible from the patterned facade. Interestingly, each column is composed of flat stone discs stacked atop one another with the Ionic capitals carved by Willard. Due to high cost overruns, said to be $100,000, more than double the original estimate and paired with the fact that pews sold slowly, the parish was in debt for many years. Due to this, a sculpture planned for the gable pediment, to represent St. Paul before Agrippa, was never completed. In 2013, a Nautilus art piece was designed by Donald Lipski and installed in the pediment (to the dismay of preservationists and others alike), representing a metaphor for a spiritual journey moving outward and growing.
What do you think of the art installation?
The only one-story temple front home in Warren, RI I could find is on Washington Street. The home was built around 1840 for John Rodgers Hoar (1816-1891). John married Sarah Boyce Haskell in 1839 and they likely were gifted the home from a relative. The tetrastyle Doric home has flushboard siding, a decorative balustrade at the front and side terrace, and a gorgeous arched window in the pediment.