This Rumford dwelling is among some of the finest company housing built in late-19th-century America.
Photographed by Cait Bourgault
Hugh J. Chisholm was already a successful entrepreneur when he moved from Canada to Maine in the 1870s. He started several companies, including paper and pulp mills and railroads around mighty Pennacook Falls on the Androscoggin River in what was then New Pennacook Plantation. There too, he planned the town that eventually became Rumford, focusing on first-rate, affordable housing for workers. In 1902, he oversaw the construction of the picturesque community of Strathglass Park, as well as a half dozen nearly identical houses on nearby Somerset Street, including this handsome brick dwelling and its neighbor, both of which are on the market.
WHY RESCUE IT
With its patterned brickwork, bracketed eaves, embellished portico, and first-floor window trim, this house is a testament to Chisholm’s commitment to providing an attractive, quality alternative to the bland mill-worker housing typical of the time. Among its first occupants: the family of William Wescott, a chief engineer at the Oxford Paper Company. Many of the details the Wescotts enjoyed are still intact, including coffered ceilings, pocket doors, fireplaces in the living room and kitchen, and hardwood floors.
WHAT YOU’RE IN FOR
A new furnace will be at the top of the to-do list. Otherwise, the new owner should expect mostly aesthetic renovations, like pulling up linoleum to expose the original wood floors. Old wallpaper and areas of paneling should be removed before repairing and painting the plaster walls. The main staircase also needs refinishing. The foundation and roof are in good shape, and the electrical system has been upgraded in recent years.
Location: 122 Somerset St., Rumford
Asking Price: $50,000
Agent: JJ Bartash; [email protected]