Famous Mainers Slept Here!
Recently on the market: a trio of homes once owned by big-shot 19th-century soldier-statesmen.
TEXT BY SARAH STEBBINS
HEAVYWEIGHT: A colonel who held back Confederate troops at the Battle of Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain served four terms as Maine’s governor, until 1870, before becoming president of Bowdoin College. He grew up with four siblings on Brewer’s Chamberlain Street, where his father built an 1830s Greek Revival and established a farm.
HIGHLIGHTS: Nestled on a corner lot, the 2,666-square-foot homestead retains many period features, including pumpkin-pine floors, tin ceilings, intricately carved moldings, and a grand, curving staircase that invites sliding down.
HISTORY: In his memoir, Chamberlain recounts sledding a half-mile “royal course” from the top of what is now Holyoke Street, around the corner from his house, to downtown Brewer, his friends standing at intersections “to warn the villagers and travelers and team-drivers.”
LISTED: $156,000; sold in 2020
HEAVYWEIGHT: One of Limerick’s earliest settlers, John McDonald was a general in the Maine and Massachusetts militia in the War of 1812, and later served in the first Maine Senate. His son, Moses, was a state rep and senator. It’s said that he built his circa-1805 Federal on Main Street atop 16-foot-long granite slabs hauled from Vermont.
HIGHLIGHTS: Antique 12-over-12 windows, nine fireplaces, wide-wood floors, hand-stenciling, carved moldings, and elaborate murals of Limerick village and Casco Bay, rendered in the style of folk artist Rufus Porter, grace the 5,574-square-foot mansion.
HISTORY: McDonald reportedly held dances and military drills in the third-floor barrel-ceilinged ballroom, now displaying sepia-tone landscapes on the walls and a gold-painted compass rose centered inside an ornate border on the floor.
LISTED: $450,000; sold in July.
HEAVYWEIGHT: A general in the state militia in the War of 1812 and a leader in the movement to separate from Massachusetts, William King became Maine’s first governor, in 1820. His summer house was Maine’s first Gothic Revival, a circa 1812 granite farmhouse atop Bath’s Whiskeag Hill.
HIGHLIGHTS: Built by King, or as an English hunting lodge — sources differ — the 4,758-square-foot estate features multi-paned lancet windows, a central cupola, two horse barns, and 38 acres of perennial gardens, hedgerows, fruit trees, and forests. Recent owners converted a sunroom into a chapel with towering stained-glass windows and added a 16-by-40-foot in-ground pool.
HISTORY: Despite Maine’s prohibitionist leanings, King reportedly coaxed his guests to imbibe. A judge who refused a glass of wine with dinner was enticed to pour some on his dessert melon. To a teetotaling physician, King cajoled, “Won’t you have a spoon, Doctor? Recently [a judge] would not drink my wine, but he ate it with a spoon.”
LISTED: $945,900; sold in June