Captain William McGilvery House

The house and its next-door neighbor have been twinning for 150 years.

It’s hard to imagine Searsport’s majestic Captain William McGilvery House without its “crown:” a heavily ornamented slate mansard roof with a bell-shaped gable. But the topper wasn’t added until roughly 10 years after McGilvery — a sea captain turned successful entrepreneur and state legislator — built his stately 1860s home with rusticated wooden flush-board sheathing that mimicked stone and drip window moldings. A year later, William’s younger sea captain brother, John, erected his own mansard-roofed residence next door. Today the two buildings remain testaments to the town’s lucrative seafaring past — and, perhaps, a 150-year-old sibling rivalry.

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

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