In about 1812, Captain Nathaniel Ward Jr. of Kennebunkport purchased this home in the village from housewright and builder Samuel Davis. The Federal style house is five bays with a central entrance with pedimented fan over the door. Two end chimneys would heat the home in the winter months when Nathaniel was out at sea and his wife, Sarah, would be maintaining the home and caring for their six children. The couple’s eldest son Charles Ward, served as the second American Consul to Zanzibar in Africa. In his role, Ward bickered continuously with the Sultan, whose word of law changed with the wind and he eventually left his position and settled in Salem, Massachusetts. This house was later owned by Abbott Fuller Graves (1859–1936), a renowned painter before he built a Prairie Style house in Kennebunkport in 1905.
Benjamin Mason Store // c.1815
Across from the Luques Store in Dock Square in Kennebunkport, another 19th century commercial building serves as a visual anchor to the vibrant village, this is the Benjamin Mason Store. Built in the 1810s, the Federal style commercial block was originally owned by businessman Benjamin Mason (1777-1855) who built a house in 1812 just nextdoor (which has since been converted to commercial use). The store is three-stories with a cupola at the roof. Later porches were added as the village prospered.
Talbot Cottage // ca.1890
One of the more unique summer cottages in Kennebunkport is the Talbot Cottage, a ca.1890 eclectic Shingle style home. The home features curvilinear Flemish gables crowned with ball finials, diamond paned windows, gabled dormers with finials and pendants, and a wrap-around Colonial Revival porch with fluted columns. The stunning home was built for Julian Talbot, of the Talbot Family who ran a mill in Lowell, MA. The home was soon after sold to George Hubbard Clapp, a Pittsburgh pioneer in the American aluminum industry, who summered in Kennebunkport.
St. Ann’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church // 1892
Saint Ann’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport is possibly my favorite building in the seaside town. As the Cape Arundel summer colony of Kennebunkport was rapidly developing in the 1880s, summer residents needed a place to worship and sought an appropriate location close to their mansions. Boston architect Henry Paston Clark sketched up some conceptual drawings for a stone chapel pro-bono as he already had active commissions in the town and summered there himself. Funds were raised and the current site was donated by the Kennebunkport Seashore Company, who developed the neighborhood. The cornerstone was laid on August 22, 1887. Five years later construction was completed, and the church was debt-free. The large sea-washed stones were hoisted and dragged to the church site during the winter of 1886-1887, and work on the building began May 27, 1887. The same sea-washed stones that grace the building’s exterior were also used for the interior of the church and sacristy. The roof over the central part of the church (the nave) is framed with hard pine hammer beam trusses and the floor is cleft slate.
White Columns // 1853
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.
The Cedars // 1900
This shingled cottage was built in 1900 for Dr. Francis B. Harrington, a surgeon who worked at Mass. General Hospital in Boston. The stunning cottage was designed with double gambrel gables, a large piazza/porch overlooking the ocean, and a porte-cochere, which was likely added after the home was completed. The home was designed by architect Henry Paston Clark (1853-1927), a Boston area architect who was briefly associated with Henry Vaughan, a leading Boston architect who executed several significant institutional and ecclesiastical works in the Boston area. Clark would later become best-known for his Shingle-style and Colonial Revival works throughout New England and spent his final years in Kennebunkport, where he died.
Nathaniel Lord Mansion // 1812
Thought to be the largest home in Kennebunkport, the Nathaniel Lord Mansion remains one of the most significant and ornate in the region. Captain Nathaniel Lord (1776-1815) was the son of Tobias Lord, a Revolutionary War veteran and later, a shipbuilder in Kennebunk. He followed his father’s footsteps and ran a shipyard, owning many ships and being one of the most prosperous merchants in the area. Kennebunkport was an important shipbuilding center and port of entry until during the War of 1812, when the British blocked the mouth of the Kennebunk River. All ship building and commerce ceased in this area at that time. Consequently, with no shipping being done, and no ships being built, the ship carpenters became idle. Nathaniel Lord commissioned these men to build him a large house and barn upon a piece of land given to his wife, Phoebe Walker, by her father Daniel Walker, who’s home stands to the north. The home was passed down for generations in the female line until the 1970s when it was restored and converted to the gorgeous Nathaniel Lord Inn.
William Jefferds House // 1804
William Jefferds Jr. was born August 30, 1779 in Kennebunk. On October 25, 1802 he married Sarah (Sally) Walker who was born in Arundel on March 4, 1783. Twenty years later, in 1803, Captain Daniel Walker gifted his son-in-law, Captain William Jefferds, Jr., “80 square rods of land, with love and affection” on the lane leading to Walker’s Wharf (he also gifted land to his other son in law, Nathaniel Lord. In 1804 the 2-story, Federal-style building that now houses Captain Jefferds Inn was built as their private home.
Capt. Jefferds was a ship owner and captain in the West Indian trade; he later became a merchant in Kennebunkport. He and Sarah had 11 children, and their family was considered one of the most aristocratic in Kennebunkport. Following Sarah’s death at age 88 in 1871 (her husband had predeceased her in 1851), the household furniture was sold at public auction and the home sold outside of the family.
The house was a two-story hipped roof Federal style dwelling, somewhat outdated by the latter half of the 19th century. By the 1880s, the Agnew Family who owned it at the time, had the home remodeled with Colonial Revival detailing, including the portico and large central dormer. The home was eventually converted to an inn, and is known as the Captain Jefferds Inn.
Check the Inn’s website for more images and history!
Daniel Walker House // 1784
One of the older extant homes in Kennebunkport is the Daniel Walker House on Maine Street. After the American Revolution, shipbuilding and other maritime industries grew along the Maine coast, especially in Kennebunkport (then still named Arundel). Sea captain Daniel Walker built the home on ample land on the outskirts of the village at the time. By the early 19th century, he sold off much of his land closer to the river to family and friends. The Georgian home is minimal, yet commanding with its massive facade, rusticated lintels and corners, an elaborate entry and a large central fireplace.
Colony Hotel // 1914
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.