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.
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.
The Cape Cottage Casino and Theater was one of several amusement parks developed in the late 1890s by Portland’s electric railways in order to increase business on their trolley lines. Residents of Portland would be able to take a surface trolley to the outskirts of the city in record time, and soak up the sun at luxurious summer communities. The Cape Cottage Casino and Theater was designed by iconic Maine architect John Calvin Stevens, completed in 1899. The casino represents the best in Neo-Classical design, with a full-height, projecting classical pediment supported by bold ionic columns. A wide entablature is accentuated with dentils and modillions; and at the entry, the main front door has a fanlight and is flanked by two small windows, creating a Palladian motif. In 1922, due to the demise in the trolley ridership, partly caused by the rise in personal automobile, the casino was sold off and the Cape Cottage Park Company then hired E.C. Jordan & Company, civil engineers, to subdivide the land and retained John Calvin Stevens and his son as consulting architects. Roughly 50 house lots were platted, resulted that were arranged around the former casino, which was extensively downsized and remodeled as a private residence. While the side wings were removed, the building does retain much of its architectural integrity, while its sheer size has been severely diminished.
One of the larger hotels in Kennebunkport, the Colonial Revival Colony Hotel, built in 1914, provides historic charm with views of the Kennebunk River and Atlantic Ocean. Owner Ruel W. Norton had the new hotel built on the site of the Ocean Bluff Hotel (1873, burned 1898), to attract summer people, many of which stayed for months at a time. The Colony was originally called Breakwater Court until 1947, when George Boughton purchased Breakwater Court and changed the name to The Colony Hotel to complement their Florida property, The Colony Hotel in Delray Beach Florida. The hotel was designed by John Calvin Stevens, who lived in Maine and designed an estimated 1000+ buildings in the state, many of which in the Shingle or Colonial Revival styles.
One of the older extant homes in Kennebunkport is the Gideon Walker Farmhouse, built in 1745. The home once sat on a larger parcel of land, on the outside of the village, which at the time, only had a handful of other homes nearby. At the time, the town was named Arundel, and was later renamed Kennebunkport, in reflection to its economy becoming one of shipbuilding and trade along the Kennebunk River. As the village population grew, the Walker land was sold off and developed for other large estates. The Georgian house featured a small, one-story projecting entry, typical of the period. In 1910, owner Anson McKim of Montreal, hired Portland architect John Calvin Stevens to update the home, which included the addition of the front entry’s second story and a large side addition approximating the size and location of the former barn which once stood there. The home has since been renovated a few more times on the interior and exterior, yet it still retains its historic integrity.