Down East 2013 ©
Photograph by Susan Cole Kelly
On a southern Maine street known for its early American architecture, this house has the distinction of being the most distinctive of all. The colorful manse has become one of the most photographed buildings in the state. It’s often cited as one of the finest examples of the Gothic-Revival style in Northern New England, although its structure is actually Federal. That’s not the only thing people get wrong. Many tell the story of the shipbuilder who crafted it as a wedding gift to his bride, carving its pieces at sea. But according to the author of a book about the place, there’s no truth to that. Sure, romance was involved in its creation, but it wasn’t between a shipbuilder and his beloved. The house was built in the classic Federal style in 1825, complete with hipped roof, Palladian windows, and twin chimneys, but it didn’t take on its jaw-dropping façade until the owner retired from shipbuilding and fell in love with the Milan Cathedral. The fancy Gothic filigree for which the house has become famous — the buttresses and turrets, the cornices and battlements, spandrels and soaring spires — were all added in the years that followed. Send us a note at P.O. Box 679, Camden, ME 04843; fire off an email to email@example.com; or post a comment at DownEast.com if you can identify this frosted house.