Bridgton is one of those quintessential New England small towns with stately historic houses and an old-timey Main Street that makes a glorious calendar cover — or, in the eyes of Stephen King, setting for a horror novella. (Does anyone remember The Mist?) Like many archetypal Maine towns, this one also has an imposing old house that sits up on a hill, demanding your attention every time you pass by. In Bridgton’s case, this is the William F. Perry House, originally built in the early 1870s for cattle dealer William Cross but sold to William Perry a few years later. The building takes the form of a typical New England connected farmhouse, but is festooned with high-style Italianate and Second Empire features, most likely introduced by Perry, a prominent industrialist who owned several mills in the area. In 2016, the home became the Clipper Merchant Tea House, a business that plays up the building’s Victorian beginnings by encouraging patrons to wear fancy clothes and hats to a lunch or high tea of quiche, scones, and finger sandwiches.
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.