Maine: Other Historic Sites

Maine, the largest of the six New England states, is filled with natural wonder and beauty. It has more than five thousand lakes and ponds, woodlands cover almost 90 percent of the state, and 2,500 miles of its Atlantic coastline twist from New Hampshire to Canada.

Blaine House

Location: Augusta, Kennebec County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: From 1862 until his death, this substantial two-story frame and clapboard house was the residence of James G. Blaine (1830-1893), Speaker of the House of Representatives, twice a senator, twice secretary of state, and an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1884. He helped establish the Pan-American Union in 1890.


Location: Castine, Hancock County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: Built in 1921 specifically for Arctic exploration, the auxiliary schooner Bowdoin was the brainchild of Admiral Donald Baxter MacMillan, an Arctic explorer, aviator, author, anthropologist, and philanthropist who made twenty-six of his twenty-nine voyages to the Arctic on Bowdoin. It is one of a handful of historic Arctic vessels left in the world and exemplifies the rugged conditions and the hardy navigators who braved the frozen north to unlock its secrets. Much of the information and knowledge of the Arctic, Labrador, and Greenland that exists to date was gathered aboard Bowdoin. During World War II, Bowdoin and MacMillan were commissioned by the U.S. Navy to serve on the important Greenland Patrol. When the schooner was retired from Arctic service in 1954, MacMillan sailed Bowdoin south to commence a career as a museum vessel.

Cushnoc Archaeological Site

Location: Augusta, Kennebec County

Relevant issues: European settlement

Statement of significance: This site contains the remains of Cushnoc, a Plymouth Colony trading post, one of the most important English outposts along the mid-seventeenth century Acadian frontier. No exact dates for Cushnoc’s construction or abandonment are documented, though evidence suggests Plymouth Colony merchants established the outpost soon after obtaining a patent to land there in 1628 and may have used this site until the establishment during the 1660’s of another outpost a few miles downstream. Fort Western, built by British troops in 1754 during the Seven Years’ War, is nearby.

Dow House

Location: Portland, Cumberland County

Relevant issues: Political history, social reform

Statement of significance: For sixty-seven years, this well-preserved two-and-a-half-story house was the residence of Neal Dow (1804-1897), called the “Napoleon of Temperance.” A leading nineteenth century proponent of Prohibition, Dow was a candidate for the presidency in 1880 on the Prohibition Party ticket.

Fort Halifax

Location: Winslow, Kennebec County

Relevant issues: European settlement, military history

Statement of significance: A defensive outpost during the French and Indian War, the fort was built for protection against Indian raids. The sole remaining structure is the oldest extant example of a log blockhouse (1754) in the country.

Fort Western

Location: Augusta, Kennebec County

Relevant issues: Colonial America, European settlement, military history, Revolutionary War

Statement of significance: Constructed in 1754 by the British, the fort is a little-altered example of an eighteenth century log fur trading post. In September, 1775, it served as the starting point and principal supply base for Colonial Benedict Arnold’s march on Quebec.

Gilman Summer House

Location: Northeast Harbor, Hancock County

Relevant issues: Education

Statement of significance: From the late 1880’s until his death, this three-story shingled house was the residence of Daniel Coit Gilman (1831-1908), American educator. As the first president of The Johns Hopkins University (1875-1902), Gilman made graduate education a recognized university responsibility.

Homer Studio

Location: Scarborough, Cumberland County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: From 1884 until his death, this converted carriage house was the studio of Winslow Homer (1836-1910), an artist noted for his Civil War scenes, landscapes, genre works, and particularly his powerful paintings of the sea.

Jewett House

Location: South Berwick, York County

Relevant issues: Literary history, women’s history

Statement of significance: This was the home of Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909), who lived and wrote in this house for most of her life. She wrote over twenty novels and collections of short stories that remain quintessential in their description of the lives and landscapes of rural Maine in the late nineteenth century. In addition to being valued for the historical perspectives it contains, Jewett’s writing is of interest to scholars of women’s literature who have explored the matriarchal and mythic qualities of her work.

Lewis R. French

Location: Rockland, Knox County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: Built in 1871, this is the oldest surviving sailing vessel built in Maine, the center for wooden-ship building in the United States after the Civil War. Lewis R. French worked mostly as a coasting schooner, carrying a variety of cargoes both as a sailing and later as a motor vessel; currently, it is a Maine windjammer, its schooner rig restored.

Lightship No. 112 “Nantucket”

Location: South Portland, Cumberland County

Relevant issues: Naval history

Statement of significance: The 1936 Lightship No. 112, known by its last official designation, Nantucket, outlasted all other lightships assigned to that station, having marked it for thirty-nine years. The nation’s most significant lightship station for transatlantic voyages, Nantucket, established in 1854, marked the limits of the dangerous Nantucket Shoals and the eastern end of the Ambrose shipping canal into New York harbor. It was the last lightship seen by vessels departing the United States as well as the first beacon seen entering the country.

Longfellow House

Location: Portland, Cumberland County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: From 1807 to 1822, when he entered Bowdoin College, this was the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), poet. Longfellow composed several of his best-known poems in this house, which he continued to regard as his home until his second marriage in 1843.

Pemaquid Archaeological Site

Location: New Harbor, Lincoln County

Relevant issues: American Indian history, European settlement

Statement of significance: Pemaquid contains the remains of a large English town occupied throughout the early period of contact on the Maine Coast along the frontier separating French Acadia from New England. European settlement of the area dates to around 1628, when New England colonists erected their first houses at the site; these first English colonists fished, farmed, and traded food and manufactured goods for furs with their Indian neighbors. As the first and most important early center for intercultural relations between Indian people and English settlers in Maine, the large amounts of artifacts and other materials preserved in Pemaquid’s fieldstone foundations, cellar-holes, chimney-bases, hearths, and other features have yielded much valuable information associated with this time period.

Reed House

Location: Portland, Cumberland County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: From 1888 until his death, this was the residence of Thomas B. Reed (1839-1902), the powerful Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1890, “Czar Reed” reformed House procedures with the introduction of the “Reed Rules.”

Robinson House

Location: Gardiner, Kennebec County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: From his infancy to the mid-1890’s, this two-story white clapboard house was the home of Edwin Arlington Robinson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who wrote much of his poetry here.

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village

Location: Sabbathday Lake and vicinity, Cumberland County

Relevant issues: Religion

Statement of significance: Founded in 1793, this was one of the last of the Shaker communities. A representative collection of Shaker implements and furniture is housed in the buildings.

Stowe House

Location: Brunswick, Cumberland County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: From 1850 to 1852, this two-and-a-half-story frame house was the residence of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of a widely influential indictment of slavery. Her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly (1852) was written here in 1851.