Historic Highlight

This Spectacularly Detailed Queen Anne Was Once Corporate Housing

And its owner a notably benevolent boss.

The 1882 Longley House, later known as the Elms

From our Spring 2022 issue

History remembers Samuel D. Warren as a savvy businessman who, in 1854, purchased a small mill on Westbrook’s Presumpscot River for $28,000 and turned it into the largest paper manufacturer in the world, producing 35,000 tons of paper per day by 1880. But Warren was also a notably benevolent boss who paid generous wages, wouldn’t employ children, set up an employee library in the mill, and erected handsome, affordable Queen Anne and Shingle-style cottages — many of them designed by prominent Portland architect John Calvin Stevens — for workers. Warren also hired Stevens to design three of Maine’s most elaborate Queen Annes, including the 1882 Longley House, later known as the Elms. Built for mill agent William L. Longley and his wife, Warren’s niece, Mary Hammond Longley, the home — now an inn — is a magnificent assemblage of gables, shingles, clapboards, half-timbering with carved-terracotta paneling, and patterned-masonry chimneys, one with a stained-glass window. The interior is equally extravagant, with decorative wainscoting and fireplaces, tin ceilings, and, in Longley’s day, a thoroughly modern convenience. After Longley became ill with consumption in 1883 — he died the following year — Warren had one of Westbrook’s first private telephone lines installed in his home so he could keep apprised of company business.