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Properties recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Maine
The former Abyssinian Meeting House is historically significant as the religious, educational, and cultural center for Portland’s nineteenth-century African American population. It is the earliest religious property associated with a black congregation in Maine (1828). The property also hosted a school for African American children, a residence for the minister, and may have been the site of a community spring or well. Prior to and during the Civil War members of the Abyssinian congregation were associated with abolitionist activities in Portland. Although greatly modified by conversion to apartments in the early twentieth century, the Abyssinian Meeting House survives in its original location and has deep roots and associations within the neighborhood. While the building itself is significant as the location of African American religious practices, social and community life, the lot upon which it sits is undisturbed land harboring archaeological sites that have the potential to illuminate the history of Portland’s African American community. This property was placed in the National Register of Historic Places at the state level of significance as a source of above-ground and below-ground (archaeological) information that will help to round out the understanding of nineteenth-century Portland’s African-American population in the areas of religion, education, social and cultural history, land use, and architectural practices.
The John B. Colcord Farmstead is an agricultural complex comprised of fields and woods, a house, barn, and multi-function outbuildings in Benton, Maine. The extant structures generally represent domestic and agricultural activities from the 1880s, 1899, and the 1930s through the 1980s, while the history of the land stretches into the 18th century. As opposed to some farmsteads in Maine that retain a high degree of integrity as a result of generations of lineal descent through a single family, the Colcord farm has been owned, in part or in whole, by at least 13 families since the land was fist purchased from the Kennebec Proprietors by Andrew Richardson, Esq, in 1786. From then until the present the Colcord Farmstead has been farmed continuously, even as the surrounding town of Benton has shed most of its agricultural heritage. This property is recognized for the quality of late nineteenth-century architectural design that is evident in the house, ell and barn, and as an example of a complex that traces its spatial orientation to the connected complex ideal that was prevalent in the second half of the 19th century in Maine. This property was placed in the National Register as a historic district that through its architecture and landscape provides an excellent source for understanding over 200 years of construction within an agricultural context.
The Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle Maine is an integrated complex of wooden buildings designed by New York architect Edward Larrabee Barnes starting in 1959. The complex, which contains craft studios, bunkhouses, administration buildings, and a dining facility, is simultaneously cleaved to and floats above a steep hillside overlooking Jericho Bay and the Deer Isle Thorofare. The campus, which references local traditions of vernacular architecture all the while creating a sculptural form that is an inspired illustration of architecture as craft, was recognized as an outstanding example of Modernist architecture by the American Institute of Architects in 1994 with the presentation of their Twenty-Five Year Award. Described as a property that, in only three decades, “has acquired the status of a New England classic,” the Haystack Campus is heralded as among Barnes’ greatest achievements. This historic district, which contains over 35 buildings and structures, was placed in the National Register of Historic Places as a property that possess high artistic values for modern architecture, and is the work of a master architect..
As Maine communities began to lose some of their frontier aspects in the early nineteenth- century and assumed a more settled appearance, rudimentary civic improvements were initiated. Among these improvements in the largely agricultural world of rural Maine was the regulation of the livestock which were becoming numerous. To address this problem towns constructed shelters for the temporary control of wayward animals. The existence of 21 of these structures in Maine have been verified, and their condition varies from almost unrecognizable to good. Of the remaining structures, only the Charlotte Pound is built of logs rather than stone. Erected in 1872, the pound is octagonal in shape and is constructed of debarked cedar logs stacked on a large cobble stone foundation. The Charlotte Pound was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a good example of a 19th century log pound built by the town to regulate one specific aspect of its agricultural economy.
The Joseph H. Underwood House in the Fayette Mills section of Fayette, Maine is a building that reflects the achievements and status of one of this town’s most successful merchants, farmers and politicians. Constructed in 1837, the large brick house and integral ell was Underwood’s third residence in the town to which he had moved thirty years earlier. During these three decades, Underwood had established a successful store, invested in numerous local industries, and served as an elected official in a variety of local and state offices. Over the next thirty years he was to expand his interests to include establishing one of the earliest and best blooded herds of Hereford cattle in the state. “Mr. Underwood,” as described by his contemporaries was “in his time, the foremost citizen of Fayette,” a statement that is reflected in this his last residence, a building which remains the largest and most architecturally prominent house in the town. The Joseph H. Underwood House was placed in the National Register of Historic Places for its association with Joseph H. Underwood, an outstanding and influential, politician, merchant and early breeder of Hereford cattle.
The Timothy and Jane Williams House is among the finest mid-nineteenth century homes in Rockland Maine, and quite possibly the most significant Italianate style structure in this seaside city. The house, which has been attributed to the local joiner and builder James Overlock, was erected circa 1859, and features high style decorative exterior elements including quoins, brackets, flush board siding, an elaborate entryway and decorative crowns over the large windows. On the interior, the formal rooms feature nicely executed plaster and wood moldings, original floors, marble fireplace surrounds, and an incredible run of high-quality tromp l’oeil painting in the two-story central hallway. Overlock designed this elaborate home, which is situated next to the former Williams Quarry, for one of Rockland’s rising most successful citizens, Timothy Williams, a farmer, politician, Colonel in the militia, business investor, and most of all, an important player in Rockland’s lime industry in the decades prior to its corporate consolidation. It was in recognition of both the social prominence of Williams and the artistic and architectural significance of the building that the Williams House was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.
The Lt. Robert Andrews house is a center-chimney Federal style home, sandwiched within a century of additions, in South Bridgton, Maine. Built by one of the most influential and benevolent men to live in the town during the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Andrews is remembered for his lifelong dedication to military, philanthropic and civic service in his community. Twenty five years after settling in town, Andrews built a large home on his land across from Adams Pond. The imposing, but restrained structure was constructed by another South Bridgton resident, John Kilborn Jr, and the details of the building contract are recorded in the ‘Articles of Agreement’, which still exists. The contents of this document, of which few survive in Maine, helps to identify Kilborn as the builder of several other extant buildings in the area, and also provides a lens through which to study early nineteenth century building practices. The Lt. Robert Andrews house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its association with a man who politically and socially was very important in the early years of Bridgton’s history, and as the first documented commission by the local builder John Kilborn.
Parson’s Bend is a very good, intact example of the simple, transitional Georgian - Federal period homesteads that were prevalent at the turn of the nineteenth century in mid-coast Maine. Situated on a low bluff over the Sheepscot River, one-and-one-half miles southeast of the Puddle Dock settlement in Alna, the home that Jacob Nelson built has changed very little since its was constructed circa 1800. Built neither as a mansion house nor a settlers cabin, the setting of the Nelson homestead farm, with its center-chimney cape, barn, and surrounding fields evokes strongly the landscape that characterized much of inland Lincoln County in the decades after the American Revolution. Parson’s Bend was placed in the National Register of Historic Places at the local level of significance as a greatly intact example of a moderate sized rural Mane homestead that also has interesting interior features including board walls with a single coat of early, if not original, paint, a rare front stair configuration, and bit and brace moldings in the front parlor.
Battery Steele, located on the former Peaks Island Military Reservation on Peaks Island, in Portland, Maine represents the most advanced form of Coastal Defense installation developed by the United States Army during World War II. Due to its location as an outer island in the bay with a clear view across the North Atlantic, Peaks Island was chosen as the principal site for Casco Bay’s defensive system. The battery was armed with two 16” guns capable of firing a 2000 pound shot 26 miles to sea. These were the largest, land based guns in the history of American Coastal Defenses, and represents the final development in the 170 year history of defending the Port of Portland and Casco Bay from naval attack. Battery Steele was one of forty-three planned primary gun installations of this size, however by the end of the war only 23 were completed and of these, only 17 were armed. Although the guns, shields, carriages and accompanying controls were destroyed or removed after the war, Battery Steele remains otherwise intact. It is an important relic of the end stage of American efforts to mount land based coastal defenses.
Garland Farm was the last home of renowned landscape architect Beatrix Farrand. At the age of 83, she dismantled her ancestral home, Reef Point, and moved herself and her favorite plants to a new apartment built onto the house of her close friends and co-workers, Amy and Lewis Garland. There she installed an ‘instant’ and private garden, placing her beloved heaths and heathers and other perennial flowers in a walled enclosure outside her quarters and dispersing her prized bushes, shrubs and trees around the grounds of the vernacular farmhouse. While Farrand is nationally known for commissions including Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., there are only a few other surviving examples of the more than 50 gardens she designed on Mt. Desert Island. Garland Farm was placed in the National Register of Historic Places as the last, and personally most intimate, garden created by this master landscape architect.
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