The C.H. Southard House was a very simple home before it was transformed into an elegant Victorian shipbuilder’s mansion.
When Thomas Jefferson Southard purchased this circa 1870 home on Richmond’s Main Street, it was something of a blank canvas. Southard, a shipbuilder and property developer who built several of the town’s landmark business blocks and close to 50 of its houses, envisioned a beacon of Queen Anne-style splendor and embellished the simple residence accordingly before giving it to his son, Charles, in 1888. Nearly a century later, the home was again a gift — from Carolyn and Fred Case to Carolyn’s father, Wilber Cooper, who had been recently diagnosed with terminal leukemia and given seven years to live. A local history buff, Cooper rehabbed the then-dilapidated structure and turned it into The Southard House Museum, a labor of love that quite literally sustained him for another 21 years.
Portland-based writer Julie Senk holds degrees in history and historic preservation and provides property surveys and architectural analyses to homeowners and businesses. To learn more about her work, visit northernvernacular.com.