Maine’s heritage is on parade with drive-by tours of places that were around when Maine became a state in 1820. Some are older than the country itself.

Gov. William King House in Bath

Maine Preservation in Yarmouth developed and kicked off Drive ME: Historic Tours this month in commemoration of Maine’s 2020 bicentennial.

“We’ve received an enthusiastic response to the tours from those who are excited to learn more about Maine’s history and pre-statehood architecture,” Sarah Oberink, Maine Preservation outreach associate, said Monday.

In partnership with the Maine Office of Tourism and the Maine Bicentennial Commission, Maine Preservation created 26 tours throughout many of Maine’s eight regions including Greater Portland and Casco Bay,  Maine Lakes and Mountains, Midcoast and Southern Maine.

“Maine’s historic buildings create a visible link to our past and are an important asset for cultural tourism in Maine,” said Maine Office of Tourism Director Steve Lyons. “The new Drive ME: Historic Tours provide an accessible way for visitors and residents alike to connect with
Maine’s heritage and the people and places that make Maine special.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick

State Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, chairperson of the state Bicentennial Commission, said the tours connect Maine’s past and present.

“As we reflect on 201 years of statehood, we are pleased to support these tours that pinpoint buildings and sites that help us understand the history of this place we call Maine,” Diamond said in a press release. “We encourage Mainers and visitors alike to take one or more of these drives and experience a connection to the people and events that made us who we are today.”

The tours range from 30 minutes to 4 hours. The routes, approximate driving times and the properties’ histories can be found at mainepreservation.org/tours-1. Included is information about

Maine’s way of life 200 years ago by telling the stories of those who lived and worked in the state and how these places played an important role in forming Maine’s cultural identity, according to Maine Preservation.

Royal Brewster House in Buxton

The program was made possible by $10,000 grants from both the Maine Bicentennial Commission and  the Maine Office of Tourism, Oberink said.

Highlights of the tours include:

Bath: The Gov. William King House, 57 Whiskeag Road. King, Maine first elected governor, built the granite-block, two-story house in 1812 as a summer retreat.

Brunswick: The Harriet Beecher Stowe House, 63 Federal St., was built in 1804. It stands out in historical significance as Stowe wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” while living in the house 1850-1852. President Abraham Lincoln said Stowe was the “little lady” who started the Civil War. The property is owned by Bowdoin College.

Skelton House in Falmouth

Buxton:  Royal Brewster House, Brewster Lane, built in 1805. Brewster, a doctor, married Dorcas Coffin, daughter of the town’s first settled minister. Brewster’s brother, John, was a prominent portrait painter and lived in the house;  Elden’s Store, 310 Haines Meadow Road, built in 1802 as a general store and post office. The upper floor once housed a coat manufacturing business.

Cape Elizabeth:  Spurwink Congregational Church, 533 Spurwink Ave., built in 1802;  Portland

Headlight, commissioned by President George Washington and built about 1790.

Durham: Nathaniel Osgood House, 1731 Royalsborough Road, built in 1785.

Falmouth: Thomas Skelton House, 124 U.S. Route 1, built in 1798;  Cushing and Hannah Prince House, 189 Greely Road, was built in 1785.

McLellan House in Gorham

Gorham: McLellan House, 140 School St., built in 1773 by early settler Hugh McLellan and the oldest brick house in Cumberland County and maybe the state; Baxter House, 67 South St., boyhood home of James Phinney Baxter, father of Maine Gov. Percival Baxter. Built about 1805, it was gifted to the town in 1908.

Naples:  Sam Perley Farm, 218 Perley Road. Perley was a lumberman and the family acquired 2,000 acres in that area.

New Gloucester:  John Stinchfield House, 142 Gloucester Hill Road, built in 1800-1810.

Portland:  Portland Observatory, Munjoy Hill, 82-foot-high maritime signal station built in 1807; Tate House, 1267 Westbrook St., built in 1755 as a home for Royal Navy mast agent Capt. George Tate; Wadsworth-Longfellow House, 224 Congress St., built by Revolutionary War Brig. Gen. Peleg Wadsworth, grandfather of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who grew up in the home.

Sam Perley House in Naples

Raymond: Nathaniel Hawthorne House, 40 Hawthorne Road, boyhood home of the author of “The Scarlet Letter” and “The house of Seven Gables.”

Scarborough: Richard Hunniwell House, 81 Black Point Road, built in 1702-1703.

Standish: Daniel Marrett House, Ossipee Trail at intersection of routes 35 and 25. Built in 1789, it became the home of the church pastor in 1796.

 

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