“The Crossways” // 1901

Built in 1901, “The Crossways” is one of Bar Harbor’s most stunning summer cottages built in the 20th century. The home was designed by the illustrious Boston architectural firm of Andrews, Jaques and Rantoul, possibly as part of the of the William B. Rice estate. The home appears to have been rented in early years until it was occupied by Edward and Esther Mears. Edward ran a hotel in town during the summer months before getting involved in real estate, where he made much more money. The home blends together the best of architectural styles of the time from Queen Anne to Shingle Style, and remains in an excellent state of preservation.

Sunset Cottage // 1910

Sunset Cottage was designed by local architect Milton Stratton and cost $20,000. The cottage was constructed for New Yorker Gertrude Stevens Rice, a decade after the death of her husband William. She and her husband formerly resided at The Tides, a home nearby, but she decided to construct a new home to summer at with her sister. The shingled home originally had half-timbering in the gables, but other than that, looks almost identical to when it was built 110 years ago!

Thornhedge // 1900

Located next door to “The Poplars” (last post), another summer cottage Thornhedge, stands out for its architectural splendor and great state of preservation. Similar to “The Poplars”, the home was built in 1900 for Lewis A. Roberts, a retired book publisher from Boston. Roberts ran the publishing house with his brothers, and they published work by authors including Emily Dickinson, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and George Sand, the first American edition of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and had their greatest commercial success with Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The business was purchased by Little and Brown Publishing in 1898. Lewis Roberts died in 1901, only a year after completing Thornhedge, and the house came under the care of his son, Lewis Niles Roberts. Mr. Roberts kept the house as a summer residence until 1920, then sold it to the family of William F. Frick, a prominent judge from Baltimore. The home became an inn by the 1970s. Thornhedge is a Queen Anne style cottage which was originally organized with the first and second floor serving as the living quarters and the top and bottom floors for the servants. The laundry, servants dining hall, and kitchen were out of sight in the finished basement, with a dumb-waiter to bring hot food to the butler’s pantry. The third floor was the servants’ living quarters.

“The Poplars” // 1899

It’s Tudor Tuesday so I have to share one of the great Tudor Revival cottages in Bar Harbor, Maine, “The Poplars” (because any good summer cottage needs a name)! The cottage was built in 1899-1900 for Lewis A. Roberts, a retired book publisher from Boston, who purchased the lot which contained a summer cottage and stable, razing both. He hired the local firm of Goddard & Hunt, an architect/builder duo who worked on many projects in the village. The Tudor Revival cottage was only occupied in the summer months by Roberts and his family as the home was not winterized at the time. The cottage was built of wood and rough stucco work with rough timber trimmings all hallmarks of the Tudor style. The home was later known as the Stratford House, and became an inn until just a couple years ago. It was recently listed for sale and has 13 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms!

“Greenlawn” // 1887

West Street in Bar Harbor was laid out in 1886, and developers laid out house lots on both sides, with larger, more expensive land right on the water. One of the earliest homes built on the street is Greenlawn, constructed in 1887 for William Rice, an industrialist who co-founded Rice & Hutchins, a shoe manufacturing company with main offices in Boston. The architectural firm of Rotch and Tilden, comprised of partners Arthur Rotch and George Thomas Tilden. Both had studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Both had worked at the architectural firm of Ware and Van Brunt, and would be best known for their Gilded age mansions in New England. By 1896, the cottage was owned by William L. Green, which is likely when the cottage’s name “Greenlawn” stuck. The house recently sold for $4.25 Million and the interiors are gorgeous!

“La Rochelle” // 1903

“La Rochelle”, one of the many beautiful summer “cottages” in Bar Harbor, Maine, sits on West Street, a well-preserved stretch of mansions that showcase Gilded Age wealth in the town. The cottage dates back to the 1902-3, when George Sullivan Bowdoin, great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton, and partner at J.P. Morgan, and his wife, Julia Irving Grinnell Bowdoin, a great niece of Washington Irving) commissioned the Boston architectural firm of Andrews, Jacques & Rantoul to design a cottage for them. They hoped to spend their summers away from New York, where they could rub elbows with other wealthy and well-connected summer residents in Bar Harbor. The French Renaissance style cottage, known as La Rochelle, became one of the first Bar Harbor mansions constructed of brick. The forty-one room, 13,000 square foot cottage was built with twelve bedrooms and nine full-bathrooms on two acres of land, which backs up to the Mount Desert Narrows and harbor. The name La Rochelle comes from La Rochelle, a seaport in Nouvelle, Aquitaine, France, where George’s ancestors lived before settling in present-day Maine (later moving to Boston). In the 1940s, Tristram C. Colket of Philadelphia and his wife (the former Ethel Dorrance, daughter of John T. Dorrance, the Campbell’s Soup king) acquired La Rochelle. In 1972, La Rochelle’s owners, the Colket family, donated it to The Maine Seacoast Mission, who then sold it in 2019 to the Bar Harbor Historical Society.

Yellow House Inn // c.1880

The Yellow House in Bar Harbor is one of the most stunning summer cottages in town, and luckily for us, is an inn! The cottage sits on a sleepy road just off Main Street, just steps from the rugged Mount Desert Island coastline on one side and busy restaurants, shopping, and bars on the other side. The cottage appears to have been built in the late 19th century from deed research and was acquired by socialite Ms. Sarah Parker Torrey Linzee, of Boston by 1886. Sarah married Thomas Linzee, a treasurer of a mill in Lowell, in 1855 and engaged in upper-class society together in Boston until his death in 1863. His wealth went to Sarah, who within a year of his death, purchased a rowhouse in Boston’s newly established Back Bay neighborhood. Her sister, Susan and her husband John Revere (the grandson of the American Patriot Paul Revere), had a matching home built nextdoor in Boston. Like any good socialite, Sarah Linzee desired a summer cottage in desirable Bar Harbor, Maine, to escape the woes of city life for clean air and large parties. Sarah and her sister Susan purchased this cottage, painting it yellow, and the name “Yellow House” stuck. The home was purchased by Leonard Opdyke and remained in the family for generations. By the second half of the 20th century, it became an inn, a use it remains as to this day. The old cottage features the finest wrap-around porch I have seen, large rooms, and original detailing inside and out. For anyone thinking about visiting Acadia National Park, I HIGHLY recommend checking in here to get the true Bar Harbor vibe!

Benjamin Waters Houses // c.1895

Benjamin E. Waters (1863-1962) was a local businessman and real estate developer in Marion by the end of the 19th century. He acquired a large property not far from the beach, in the middle of a high-class residential enclave and developed the property, running a small dirt path through the middle, known today as Pie Alley. He built three large Shingle style homes and appears to have rented them out to wealthy residents. The homes are all situated very well on their lots among large lawns framed by stone walls, just a short walk from the beach.

“Fair Oaks” // 1903

One of the most grand Summer estates on the coast in Marion, MA, is “Fair Oaks”, a 1903 Tudor Revival mansion across the Sippican Harbor from the village. Horace B. Shepard was the president of the Shepard and Morse Lumber Company, which was headquartered in Downtown Boston. The company was a wholesale dealer in all kinds of lumber including: white pine, spruce, hemlock, North Carolina pine, yellow pine, poplar, and various oaks. Given Shepard’s line of work he not surprisingly called his summer estate “Fair Oaks”, and his house’s building materials
were undoubtedly supplied by his company. He appears to have hired Charles Allerton Coolidge, who lived nearby in his own summer cottage (featured previously) to design the Tudor mansion. The “cottage” is almost 13,000 sq.ft. and has 11 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms. Wow!

Rev. William Percy Browne Cottage // 1881

In 1881, Henry Hobson Richardson furnished plans for this modest, shingled cottage in the town of Marion, overlooking Sippican Harbor. At the same time, he was also completing designs for Austin Hall at Harvard and overseeing the construction of Albany City Hall in New York, both in his iconic Richardsonian Romanesque style. This Shingle style home in Marion was designed for Reverend William Percy Browne (1838-1901), who was educated at Kenyon College in Ohio alongside John Cotton Brooks, the youngest brother of Phillips Brooks, who would become the Rector of Boston’s Trinity Church and briefly Bishop of Massachusetts. Brooks would hire H.H. Richardson to design Trinity Church in Boston in the early 1870s. From this connection and being members of the St. Botolph Club of Boston, Reverend William Percy Browne and H.H. Richardson began a working relationship designing Browne’s summer cottage in Marion. The legend is that at the club, Browne bet Richardson that he could not design a small house for $2,500. Browne lost. This modest house was completed in 1882 and represented an early, significant example of a Shingle style home in Massachusetts. Browne died in 1901 and the house was sold to Sidney Hosmer, a Boston electrical engineer. Under his ownership, the home was expanded and altered, somewhat obscuring Richardson’s original design. The cottage was eventually purchased by Tabor Academy, who in 2019, pulled a demolition permit for the house. Architects and historians quickly rallied and advocated for the preservation of the cottage, saving it from the wrecking ball. The academy is undergoing alternative plans, which were stalled due to Covid-19.