Riverside Hall // c.1860

Located across the street from the Sedgwick Baptist Church at 28 High Street, this modified Greek Revival style building in Sedgwick, Maine stopped me in my tracks. Sadly, I could find little on the building besides the fact that the building is absent from an 1860 map of Hancock County, but it appears in an 1881 map listed as “Hall”. The building exhibits flush siding which is scored to resemble ashlar/stone construction, overhanging eaves with a hipped roof which was common in the Italianate style, and a full-length one-story portico supported by square posts with applied Ionic detailing. That’s something I’ve never seen before! Upon a little more digging, I found a historic image of the building titled, “Riverside Hall”. The photograph shows a Second Empire style building with a mansard roof and cupola. The unique portico is shown as well. The local library lists the Riverside Hall as a community hall where events and gatherings were held. A fire destroyed the roof and much of the interior, but it was renovated and converted into a single-family home.

First Baptist Church of Sedgwick // 1837

Sedgwick, Maine is a coastal town overlooking the Penobscot Bay separating it from the better-known Deer Isle. The town was originally inhabited by the Wabanaki people. In the 18th century, land here was granted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1761 to David Marsh and 359 others, and settlers began arriving and building homes here shortly after. In 1789, the town was incorporated as Sedgwick, named after Major Robert Sedgwick, who in 1654, captured nearby Fort Pentagouet from the French. The land in Sedgwick was very rocky and was thus better suited for grazing than cultivation. Because of the geology, for decades Sedgwick had operating many granite quarries, which shifted southward toward Stonington in later decades. The town then became a hub of seafaring professions, from ship-building to trading, to fishing and clam-digging. The town’s Baptist population established a congregation in 1794 as a Congregationalist organization which underwent a large-scale conversion to Baptistry in 1805. This congregation retained Bangor architect Benjamin S. Deane to design its church, which was built in 1837 in the Greek Revival style. Deane’s design is based on a drawing publisher by Asher Benjamin in his Practice of Architecture. The church had seen a dwindling congregation for decades until it was disbanded in 2008. The church was acquired by the Sedgwick-Brooklin Historical Society, who have begun a restoration of the building.

Glen Cottage // c.1850

Not all of Kennebunkport’s summer “cottages” are grand, Shingle style mansions… Glen Cottage was originally built in c.1850 as a Greek Revival style cape house. As the town developed into a desirable summer colony for wealthy residents of Boston, New York and Philadelphia, the small cottage caught the eye of a Ms. Garrard. Margaret Garrard purchased Glen Cottage in 1900 and hired Maine architect William Barry to transform the old cape, adding the dormers, octagonal bay, and door hood. Here, she ran the Bonnie Brig Tearoom for twenty years. Tea houses were important social centers for wealthy summer residents Later owners renamed the tea house, “The Old Tree Tea Tavern” and “Periwinkle” but in 1926, the name reverted to The Bonnie Brig Tearoom. Today, the cottage has reverted back to residential use with the owners lovingly maintaining the old cape.

The Floats // 1900

Newton Booth Tarkington (1869–1946) was an American author best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) and Alice Adams (1921). He is one of only four novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was considered the greatest living American author in much of the 1910s and 1920s. While he was born and grew up in Indiana, “Booth” eventually fell in love with the coast of Maine, and built a home in the charming village of Kennebunkport. In Kennebunkport, he was well known as a sailor, and his schooner, the Regina, survived him. Regina was moored next to Tarkington’s boathouse this building, which was named “The Floats” which he also used as his studio. The building was constructed in 1900 as a shop to build ships. He purchased the building, preserving it for generations to come. After his death, the boathouse and studio were converted into the Kennebunkport Maritime Museum. The building appears to now be a private residence, perched above the harbor. How charming!

Lord-Gould House // 1799

Believe it or not, this stunning Federal mansion in Kennebunkport was a marriage present! When Phebe Walker married Nathaniel Lord in 1797, Phebe’s father, Daniel had this home built for the new couple. Phebe and Nathaniel had a total of nine children before Mr. Lord died in 1815 at 38 years old. Before his death, the wealthy couple used part of their property to erect a larger home, which is now known as the Nathaniel Lord Mansion. The couple sold the property, and it was owned for some time by Captain Alden B. Day, who passed it down to his daughter Nellie and her husband, William Gould. The property remained in the Day-Gould family until 2017. The house is very well-preserved and looks much like it would have appeared when built in 1799 besides the later entry added in the mid-19th century.

Benjamin Coes House – “Tory Chimneys” // c.1785

One of the hidden architectural gems of Kennebunkport is this Revolutionary-era house with some serious proportions. The house was built around 1785 by Benjamin Coes, a sailmaker from Marblehead, who settled in the burgeoning Kennebunkport in search of new work and opportunities. He married Sarah Durrell and the couple erected the seventh house in town, which is part of this property. For his work, Mr. Coes used the first two floors as his residence and the third floor was used as a sail loft, with an exterior staircase. A young boy, Joseph Brooks, would work in the loft and he would go on to marry Benjamin’s daughter, Sarah. The couple inherited the family house and retired here. The property was sold out of the Coes-Brooks Family when Maine State Historian, Henry Sweetser Burrage and his wife Ernestine purchased this house in 1917, which would be used as a guest house. The couple and lived in the house across the street. Ernestine Burrage, who was Chairperson of the Kennebunkport Chapter of the Red Cross, allowed the ladies of her chapter to gather there three times a week to roll bandages for the soldiers injured in battles overseas. It became the headquarters for the Kennebunkport Red Cross. It was likely Ernestine who had the chimneys painted white, which resembled the old Tory Chimneys in Revolutionary-era New England; where, when painted white, they served as a quiet signal which indicated that a home’s residents were loyal subjects of the British Crown.

John Bourne House // c.1800

John Bourne (1759-1837) was born in Wells, Maine as the son of Benjamin Bourne. When the American Revolution hit a peak, when he was only sixteen years of age, John enlisted in the service of the country, and marched in company of Capt. Thomas Sawyer, to Lake Champlain. After the war, he learned the trade of shipbuilding and established himself in Kennebunkport, at the height of the village’s manufacturing. John Bourne built ships for a wealthy ship-owner and became successful himself. Bourne was married three times. His first wife, Abigail Hubbard (m.1783) died at just 24 years old after giving him three children. He remarried Sally Kimball a year later, who died in her twenties at just 28, she birthed one son for him in that time. His third wife, Elizabeth, would outlive John, and they had five children together. After his marriage with Elizabeth, John likely had this home built, possibly from his own hands. The Federal style home stands out for the unique entry with blind fan and modified Palladian window framed by engaged pilasters.

Kennebunkport Post Office // 1941

During the Great Depression, the federal government built over 1,100 post offices throughout the country as part of the New Deal’s Federal Works Agency. Many of the post offices funded and built in this period were designed by architect Louis Simon, Head of the Office of the Supervising Architect for the U.S. Treasury. Few architects had such a role in designing buildings nationwide than Federal architects who designed buildings ranging from smaller post offices like this to courthouses and federal offices. They really are the unsung designers who impacted the built environment in nearly every corner of the nation. As part of the Treasury Department Section of Fine Arts, artists were hired to complete local murals inside many post offices built in this period, depicting local scenes and histories of the towns they were painted in. In Kennebunkport, artist Elizabeth Tracy who submitted a preliminary sketch of her piece “Bathers” which was approved depicting a beach scene, though the townspeople had not been consulted. Unfortunately, the opinion of a vocal part of the Kennebunkport populace was highly negative to Tracy’s painting, largely due to the fact that her beach scene depicted people on a beach in adjacent Kennebunk, not Kennebunkport! Within a few years, the townspeople gathered funds to hire artist Gordon Grant to paint a satisfactory replacement mural in 1945. The new mural remains inside the post office.

Captain Nathaniel Ward – Abbott Graves House // 1812

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.

William Allen Jr. House // 1866

Italianate style houses dominate the Deering Street area of Portland architecturally, but there are definitely some great Second Empire residences and other styles seen here. This house (like seemingly every building in Portland in the 1860s) was designed by architect George M. Harding for William Allen Jr. The house would soon be Harding’s neighbor, so he made an effort to site and design this residence with care. The brick building is capped by a slate mansard roof and it has a beautiful projecting door hood with pendants carved of grapes. Sadly, like some others on the street, the belvedere was removed in the mid-20th century.