A Maine Founding Father’s Home Was Bought by a Massachusetts Couple

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History is all around us in Maine, and it’s no different in our state’s housing market, where certain homes were once home to some of the state’s most famous residents.

Last week, the home of William King, considered the father of the state and Maine’s first governor, sold in Bath for nearly $1 million. It had been on the market for exactly five months. The buyers, both lawyers, listed their mailing address as a home in Newton, Massachusetts, the state Maine separated from in 1820.

King isn’t the only famous Mainer to see his home sold since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the state’s housing market. Here are four of the most notable that have found new owners since then.

William King, Bath

The summer residence of Maine’s first Governor, William King, at 40 Whiskeag Road is shown. The house sold for almost a million dollars last week. Credit: Courtesy of Kate Sfeir

It’s not often that you live in the house of the person who defended the independence of the state. Maine’s first governor, William King, has been called the father of the state of Maine and spent much time in this house as he fought for separation from Massachusetts.

The state’s first Gothic Revival estate also represents the first known appearance of medieval architecture here, according to its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

King had bought the property the farm is on around 1809 to 1813, using it as a summer residence and trading farm and sending produce across Bath waters using his own ships.

His principal residence was not this one but a larger house on Front Street. King began renting the property shortly after Maine was granted statehood, but owned it until his death in Bath in 1852.

Katherine Leeman, who sold the house with Christina Stirratt at Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, said it was great to be part of the sale of a “magnificent property” with so much history.

“The new owners are truly stewards of an important historic property,” Leeman said.

Anna Kendrick, Portland

Former home of actress Anna Kendrick on Craigie Street in the Rosemont neighborhood of Portland. The house sold in September 2020 for $430,000. Credit: David Marino Jr.

Before Kendrick became Maine’s most famous star in Hollywood, her family lived in this house in the Rosemont neighborhood of Portland while attending Deering High School, where she graduated in 2003 and pursued an acting career. .

The house sold for $430,000 in September 2020. It has accumulated significant value since then, with Redfin estimating it is currently worth around $541,000.

This list didn’t mention its famous former resident, and the house appears to have been out of Kendrick’s family for many years. In September 2013, Phase III Properties of Scarborough sold it for $252,000.

Kendrick still returns to Portland on occasion. She was spotted in the Old Port last August and seemed to refer be in Portland around the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday on social networks. No word if she ever returned to her childhood home.

Joshua Chamberlain, Brewer

This old Brewer house was the home Joshua Chamberlain grew up in and sold for $156,000 in June 2020. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik

This four-bedroom home was the childhood home of Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain, who later served as Governor of Maine and President of Bowdoin College.

Called the Joshua Chamberlain Jr. Farm after his father, who built it in the 1830s, this house was once the site of the family farm.

In his book Joshua Chamberlain: The Soldier and the Man, Edward Longacre describes these early years as formative for Chamberlain. He learned a work ethic he would keep for the rest of his life, joining the Congregational Church in Brewer and traveling from there to Ellsworth to enter military boarding school. He saw less of the property after enrolling at Bowdoin College.

The home cost just $156,000 in June 2020, $23,000 less than the median home value in Brewer that month, according to Zillow. The house is probably worth more today, with Zillow estimating a market value of around $273,000.

John Ford, Portland

Famous director John Ford’s childhood home in Portland at 21 Sheridan St. in the Munjoy Hill neighborhood. The property was sold in December 2020. Credit: David Marino Jr.

If you’ve seen a few westerns, you’ve probably seen at least one movie directed by John Ford.

Perhaps most famous for his association with John Wayne, who appeared in 24 of Ford’s films, Ford directed such films as ‘Stagecoach’, ‘The Searchers’ and ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’. He was also the first to adapt John Steinbeck’s 1940 novel The Grapes of Wrath, which remains the novel’s most famous adaptation more than 80 years later.

Ford was a very influential director who pioneered techniques such as wide shots and location shooting. He was a decorated World War II veteran, putting himself in harm’s way to capture battle scenes, most notably during the Normandy invasion in 1944.

Prior to this, Ford was born in Cape Elizabeth and grew up in this house in Munjoy Hill. He attended high school in Portland, where he played football before moving to California to make his film industry debut around age 20 in 1914.

A condo in the house sold for $650,000 while a second went for $615,000, with the two selling 20 days between them in December 2020. Each unit was sold to a separate buyer by sellers who indicated their mailing addresses in Louisiana and Seattle, respectively.

Although not open to the public, Ford’s history in the house is commemorated with a plaque in the front reading “The John Ford House”, as well as a movie camera.

About Lillian Coomer

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