‘Mountain Aqua’ // c.1882

Located near the base of Pleasant Mountain in Denmark, Maine, you’ll find this stunning Victorian house, possibly the best example of Queen Anne architecture in town. Down the dirt road, you can imagine how shocked I was to stumble upon this beauty set back off the road, overlooking the White Mountains in the distance. The house was built around 1882 for the Warren Family, descendants of one of the first settlers in the town. Caleb Warren Jr., is likely responsible for this house, which served as a base lodge for the hotel once located at the summit. In 1845, Caleb Sr. built the first guesthouse atop the 2,200′ mountain, which was purchased just years later by a Joseph A. Sargent. Sargent converted the old hotel into a bowling alley and built a new hotel at the summit. That structure burned to the ground, and was replaced in 1873. The buildings at the summit were eventually purchased and demolished by 1908 when the mountain was sold to the Appalachian Mountain Club. Mountain Aqua would have served as a base lodge for the mountaintop hotel, and was a place where visitors could depart by foot or wagon to the summit. Mountain Aqua appears to be a single-family home today.

Sunnylea // 1881

One of the best Queen Anne style summer cottages in Newport is this gem, named Sunnylea. The house was built in 1881 for Charles F. Chickering, who ran the Chickering & Sons Piano Company in Boston. Chickering hired local architect Dudley Newton, who had previously apprenticed under George Champlin Mason, a builder of many Newport summer houses. Sunnylea was the first independent commission that Newton designed with his own firm. The house was later owned by Luther Kountze, a New York banker and his wife Annie. After WWII, the home was converted away from single-family use, and was occupied as a prep school, before being converted to condos late in the 20th century. It recently sold, and wow, the interior is just as beautiful as the exterior!

The Old Breakers Mansion // 1878-1892

For my last post on this series on The Breakers in Newport, I wanted to highlight the original Breakers mansion. Built in 1878, the original Breakers was equally as significant, but a completely different style architecturally. The Breakers was constructed for Pierre Lorillard IV (1833-1901), a tobacco manufacturer and thoroughbred race horse owner from New York. In 1760, his great-grandfather, and namesake of the family company, founded P. Lorillard and Company in New York City to process tobacco, cigars, and snuff. The ‘cottage’ would serve as a summer retreat for Lorillard and his family for the summer months. The home was designed by one of the premier architectural firms in the country at the time, Peabody & Stearns, who specialized in high-style country estates. In 1885, Lorrilard used his family land in Orange County, New York, to lay out a new residential colony as a playground for New York’s wealthiest residents during the summer months. The colony is known as Tuxedo Park. He sold The Breakers to Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1885 and the family would summer in the massive Queen Anne style estate for just seven years until a fire destroyed the home. The detached children’s cottage (also designed in 1878 by Peabody & Stearns) survived the fire and remains on the site. The Vanderbilt’s decided to erect a fireproof house immediately, and the result is the massive limestone mansion we can tour today.

The Breakers – Children’s Cottage // 1878

While the Breakers Mansion in Newport is one of the most opulent buildings in the United States, a tiny cottage on the grounds always gives me feelings of whimsy. Predating the larger mansion by two decades, this cottage was constructed on the grounds of the original Breakers House, owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt, which was destroyed by fire in 1893. The cottage was built as a children’s playhouse around the time the original Breakers mansion was built in 1878. The Boston architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns built the mansion and adjacent cottage for Pierre Lorillard IV, a New York cigar manufacturer and millionaire. The Queen Anne Revival style elements, including the half-timbering and shingles and asymmetry, were in keeping with the style of the original Breakers, and complimented it well. My favorite part of the cottage is the open porch facing the ocean, which has four wooden posts, carved in the shape of figures from Dutch folklore, a sort of caryatid, supporting the roof. The house contains a living room and kitchen separated by a huge red brick chimney, which would be maintained by servants for the children while they play.

Benjamin Case House // 1888

This large Queen Anne Victorian house in Canton Center was built for Benjamin Franklin Case (1861-1931), a banker and businessman who incorporated the town creamery. He made his fortune harnessing the rural character of the village, creating the Canton Creamery, where farmers could package and sell their dairy products to the rapidly growing communities nearby. Case was credited as bringing the telephone to town, with his office in his home serving as a switchboard room. He is also known as the first person in town to own an automobile. After his death, the property was used by his daughter Ruby as a vacation house. After WWII, she realized it was too much house for her to upkeep, and she converted the single family home into apartments.

Swedenborgian Church of Lancaster // 1881

This beautiful old building was constructed in 1881 in Lancaster, MA as a Swedenborgian Church. The congregation in The United States has always been much smaller than other prominent religions, but Lancaster had a sizable group of believers. Some wealthier residents bankrolled for a new church building, which would and could not compete with the Unitarian Church designed by Charles Bulfinch. Architect Francis Ward Chandler from the Boston firm of Cabot & Chandler designed the modest, yet beautiful building in the Queen Anne style. The congregation died off and in 1923, the building was purchased by members of the Current Topics Club, seemingly a debate and social club in town. The old church sold in 2020 as a residence.

Smith-Miller House // 1893

Located on stunning West Broadway in Bangor, Maine, the Smith-Miller House stands out as a beautiful blending of the Shingle and Queen Anne styles. Built in 1893 from the designs of Connecticut architectural firm Cook, Hapgood, and Company, the home was featured in The American Architect and Building News journal for its design success. The home is clad with continuous cedar shingle siding, with a prominent corner tower, wrap-around porch, and porte-cochere, all together provide complexity and intrigue on the street of large homes. What do you think of this home?

Ullikana // 1885

One of the earlier summer cottages in Bar Harbor is Ullikana, a Queen Anne style cottage, verging on Tudor Revival style. The cottage was built in 1885 for Alpheus Hardy (1815-1887) a trader in Boston. Hardy gained his wealth in shipping. He got his start by buying a small and fast ship that could make the voyage to the Mediterranean and back so quickly that he and his other investors captured much of the fruit importing business. His company would grow to have over 15 ships going as far as China. Hardy hired the Boston architectural firm of Cummings & Sears to design a new summer cottage in Bar Harbor, Maine, an ever-growing rival to Newport. He could only enjoy the cottage for two years, when in 1887, while cutting coupons, he dropped the scissors, the sharp points piercing his leg. Blood poisoning followed and death resulted. The summer cottage was owned by his family as a rental cottage for a number of years until it was purchased by the Maine Central Railroad, and rented to the recently widowed Princess Miguel de Bragança of Portugal, the former Anita Rhinelander Stewart. The cottage is now an inn.

Rice-Petersen House // c.1890

Built in the 1890s by Dr. A.W. Rice, the ground floor of this Queen Anne style house served as the physician’s office, and he lived with his family in the upper floors. The home stands out as a fairly uncommon example of the Queen Anne style in Marion, a town dominated by Shingle style homes in that period. An enterprising Danish immigrant named Viggo V. Petersen, purchased the home and adjacent carriage house in 1921 and opened an ice cream parlor in it. When Viggo V. died in 1941, his son, Viggo C., attempted to carry on, until wartime cream shortages and rationing forced him to close for the duration of the conflict. Thereafter, Petersen’s ice cream resumed production and remained a Marion fixture until its final closing in the 1970s. The home is now occupied by two offices, and the former carriage house is home to the Mary Celeste Wine and Whiskey Library, a fun place that educates about wine and whiskey, offering tastings and events.

Cyrus White House // 1885

Cyrus White (1830-1893) was born in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts and eventually settled in Boston, where he patented his “White’s Tropic Furnace”. The furnace was powered by coal, but due to its engineering, required only a small amount compared to competitors. From this invention, Cyrus opened a store in Jamaica Plain which sold house-furnishing goods, hardware, plumbing fixtures, furnaces, stoves, and drain and gas fittings, a business that boomed in Victorian-era Boston, with all the home building and wealth seen at the time. From his furnace invention and store, he could afford to build this Queen Anne home in the desirable Sumner Hill neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, Boston. Of particular note is the recessed entry within an arched opening and siding styles, including sawtooth edges at the overhang.