Ogunquit Playhouse // 1937

Opened in 1933 in a converted garage and relocated to the existing building upon its completion in the summer of 1937, the Ogunquit Playhouse is an important part of Maine‚Äôs historic twentieth-century cultural landscape. The Playhouse was founded by former Hollywood director and Broadway producer Walter Hartwig and his wife Maude, and the building was designed by theater architect Alexander Wyckoff. The site on Rt-1 was intentional as the highway was the main coastal route for the inter-war summer tourist travel. The Colonial-inspired theater was in keeping with the historic nature of New England, but with the grandeur to attract a nation-wide summer audience. Early articles mentioned the building constructed of “…steel and wood, painted white with green shutters and roof, is simple in line, suggesting the Colonial architecture of New England”. Walter Hartwig died in 1941, and his widow Maude took over as the producer for the upcoming season. In 1947, she engaged George Abbott, New York’s most distinguished playwright/producer to share in the managerial duties, and in 1950 John Lane arrived as co-producer. Lane acquired the property in the following year, counting among his first tasks the rebuilding of the stage which was destroyed by a storm the year prior and changing the landscape to move the parking lot in front of the building to the side. The Ogunquit Playhouse continues its 26-week season runs from May through October, with off-season co-productions at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. Go see a show before the season is over!

Bear Mountain Grange Hall // 1844

This large wooden building in Waterford, Maine, looks much like a church, because it was built as one in 1844! The building was constructed as a Universalist Church just over a decade after a local Universalist Society was formed in the area in 1830. In the subsequent decades of the church’s founding, dwindling membership by the time of the Civil War required the group to sell the building to local businessmen. The town rented a space in the building which used a floor as a school, after an additional floor was added to the base, giving the building the vertical appearance it has today. in 1896, the Bear Mountain Grange purchased the building as a meeting hall, allowing the school to operate in the building (an arrangement that lasted until 1949)! The building has seen better days, but besides the chipping paint and some wood-rot, it retains the original windows and has been relatively un-altered!

Wrightstone // 1925

In the early 20th century, Norway, Maine and the surrounding towns were sought-after for their natural beauty with large lakes and rivers with untouched expanses of forest. Upper-middle class residents of Portland, Boston and other larger cities in New England built more rustic summer homes, compared to the elaborate “White Elephants” in Newport, Rhode Island. This home in Norway was named Wrightstone and was built in 1925 for the Wright Family. The U-shaped home is constructed from rubblestone, likely gathered from the land on which it sits. The house blends the Arts and Crafts movement with the uncommon (in Maine) Spanish Colonial Revival style, with the terracotta roof! I bet the interior is so cozy!

Sweden Free Meetinghouse // 1826

Just a short flight (erh I mean drive) from Denmark, you’ll find Sweden… Maine. Sweden is one of three towns of Oxford County Maine, named after Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway & Sweden). Sweden was once territory of the Abenaki tribe who fled to Canada during the Dummer’s War. Present-day Sweden was first colonized in 1794 by Colonel Samuel Nevers from Burlington, Mass. After the Revolutionary War, where he served, Samuel was given a large tract of land in Maine. The town separated from Lovell and became known as Sweden, likely due the . THe started to clear his lumber on his land, and he returned several times a year to his home in Burlington, Mass. for supplies. In 1796, his friend Benjamin Webber joined him and Samuel gave his friend some land for his assistance. Upon his last visit back to Burlington in 1796, he took his bride Esther Trull by horseback, making the 180-mile journey within 24 hours, a record time for this era. The Nevers cleared out land, laid out roads, and built the earliest civic buildings in the fledgling town, including the town’s Free Meetinghouse seen here in 1826. This building has served as a townhouse, community church, schoolhouse, and grange hall. The building was largely rebuilt in the 1860s, giving it the vernacular Greek Revival appearance we see today.