By the time he was 45, Eliot native John Hill had been a doctor, successful businessman, state legislator, and candidate for governor, who was elected to office in 1900 by a wide margin. Such accomplishments, he felt, earned him a proper executive mansion and, since the state had not yet acquired the Blaine House for that purpose, he commissioned Maine’s most prominent architect to design one. At the turn of the 20th century, John Calvin Stevens had begun to shift away from the shingle style he was famous for in favor of the stately Colonial Revival style. The 1902 governor’s residence in Augusta, with its strict symmetry, two-story, Ionic-columned portico, and St. Louis brick façade punctuated with local granite detailing, is one of his most notable works. Hill entertained guests in the home’s opulent receiving room, dining room, and parlor, which retain their original furnishings, and you can too — each space is available to rent for events.
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.