One of the most stunning examples of Greek Revival architecture in Gardiner, Maine, is the Mitchell-Patten House. The home was constructed in the mid-1840s for John S. Mitchell (1804-1891) head of the firm of Mitchell, Wilson and Co., who were traders on the Kennebec river, in lumber and other goods. The home was likely built not long after John’s wife, Philenia Sewall Mitchell died during childbirth in 1837 to the couple’s son, who died at just two years old himself. After the death of his wife and only son, John met Mary and they married, moving into this home. Together, they had four children. Together, they had three sons, but like with his first marriage, tragedy wasn’t far behind. Their first son was stillborn, their son William died at age 27, and their third son, Egbert died in his first year. The family home was willed to the couple’s only living child, Susan, after her marriage to husband Freeman Patten. Freeman was a successful businessman in town and worked as a bank director, and later served as President of the Board of Trade and as Mayor of Gardiner 1899-1900.
This stunning Gothic Revival church was built in 1843, on the site of the blockhouse, erected 80 years prior for the settlers of the area from native attack. In the 17th and 18th centuries, many rural parts of New England had blockhouses erected to allow the settlers a defensive fort from attack. The blockhouses were often garrisoned wooden structures with small windows on all sides to allow for gunfire to attackers below. The structure would protect those inside from arrows and melee weapons. This building however, was constructed later for the Universalists, who believed in “universal salvation,” who had been meeting since 1821 in a schoolhouse beside the town common. The church, in its original state with its steeple and clock, was an extremely sophisticated example in wood of the Gothic Revival style with its pinnacles, lancet windows and pilasters. Sadly, the steeple and clock were removed in the early 1920’s for safety reasons as the structure could not support it without significant engineering. The church and congregation changed to the United Church of Christ-Congregational denomination in 1964. After that, the building was occupied by a brewery (believe it or not), before being reverted back to a church by the current congregation.
This stunning Queen Anne home in Gardiner, Maine, overlooks the Kennebec River from its high position on a hill. The home was built for Hartley Jewett, who ran a busy lumber mill in town, which sold long lumber, laths, and shingles, some of which ended up on his own home. Maine was huge in the lumber industry, and it’s vast forests were often cut and sent down to cities like New York and Boston on rail to supply their own building booms.
The first train arrived in Gardiner, Maine in 1851. Rail here introduced a new mode of transportation for passengers and freight, which previously relied on horse or ship up the Kennebec River. When the old station was deemed too small and outdated, the Maine Central Railroad Company decided to hire Portland architect, George Burnham to complete plans for a more fitting station. This building is a mix of styles, the two I would categorize it as are Romanesque Revival and Spanish Revival. The building incorporates a number of influences of the two along with a deep overhanging roof supported by large brackets, heavy rusticated granite blocks at the base, and quoining around the windows and corners. The station was in operation until about 1960 when rail service here halted. Since that time, the building has been adaptively reused as a retail store, today as a recreational cannabis dispensary. So you can get high and look at cool architecture!
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.
One of the most unique homes in the state of Maine has to be this stunner in the small town of Farmingdale. Perched high on a hill overlooking the Kennebec River, the mansion was built in 1855 for Folliett Lally, a wealthy Civil Engineer. In 1842, Lally was hired by the U.S. Government to map out the border between present day Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. The issue arose after the Treaty of 1783 ending the American Revolution had described the northeastern boundary of the new United States, but with unclear boundary descriptions. After the Aroostook War in 1838-9, a cold war between the U.S. and Britain (who controlled New Brunswick), the long-standing controversy was ended with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842). The new boundary was proposed by the King of the Netherlands, a mediator, who granted the U.S. more of the disputed area. We have Folliett Lally to thank for mapping and charting out the present northestern boundary of the United States. Now back to the house. The home was designed by Charles Alexander, a Portland-based architect. The home was sold, likely after Lally’s death, to two men, who converted the it to a double house, with entrances on both side elevations. A brick wall was run through the center of the home separating the house in half. The building was since divided up more and apparently has eight units.
Just a few doors down from the Nathaniel Stone House (last post) in Farmingdale, Maine, this large Italianate style home similarly commands the prominent siting overlooking the Kennebec River. The house was built in 1867 for Robert Thompson (1806-1888), a Scotsman, who took over a pottery company in nearby Gardiner. Robert and his wife Phebe had two children, Lucy and David, the latter died within his first year of life. After the couple passed, they willed their home to daughter Lucy, who married a druggist, James Jackson. The Colonial Revival style doorway was added sometime after their passing in the early 20th century.