In the late-18th century, Federal homes with high-style details were all the rage in cities like Boston, but rare in Maine. Judge David Sewall was among the first locals to embrace the genre, erecting Coventry Hall — named for the English city his ancestors hailed from — in York Village in 1794. With its sleek Ionic pilasters, intricate door surrounds, and massive rooftop balustrade, the grand home befit Sewall’s station — he was a classmate of John Adams at Harvard Law School and was appointed judge for the United States Court of the District of Maine by George Washington in 1789 — and the company he kept. (President James Monroe visited in 1817.) Likely designed by architect Thomas Eaton, and extensively restored by preservation-minded owners in 2007, the pearly white home remains (quite literally) a shining example of the Federal style in Maine.
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.