Bowman House Contributed

Celebrate the start of summer at Historic New England’s annual Open House at the 1762 Bowman House on Saturday, June 4. Free guided tours will be given on the hour, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the last tour leaving at 3 p.m.

All visitors must follow current state COVID-19 guidelines and follow social distancing rules.

Bowman House is located at 22 Bowman Lane in Dresden.

Bowman House is a rare survivor of 18th century elegance on the Kennebec River. Built in 1762 for lawyer Jonathan Bowman, the Georgian style mansion was built by Gershom Flagg, the same architect who built the nearby 1761 Pownalborough Courthouse. Both were financed by the Kennebec Proprietors, a group of Boston investors, to service what they thought would become a regional commercial and legal center.

Jonathan Bowman was sent to Pownalborough by his uncle, Thomas Hancock, the wealthiest merchant in pre-Revolutionary War Boston and a member of the Kennebec Proprietors. Bowman was appointed to several legal positions, becoming a judge in 1772. He supplemented his legal work income with investments in the booming lumber and shipping business.

After Bowman’s death, the house was purchased by James Carney, a local man who became a successful blacksmith servicing farmers and the busy Pownalborough waterfront. He also built a 181-ton ship on the site. Carney and his wife Joanna raised twelve children in the house, and were leaders in charitable efforts in their community. In the 1870s, near the end of the Maine ice industry boom, Bowman House became offices for the Lincoln Ice Company who owned it until 1911.

After decades of ownership by historic preservationists, Bowman House was purchased in 1965 by artist, entrepreneur and historic preservationist William Waters and his partner Cyrus Pinkham. After giving the house to Historic New England in 1971, Waters spent 51 years restoring the interiors and filling the house with Bowman pieces and 18th century objects and furniture.

The Bowman House grounds are open daily dawn to dusk. All visitors must follow posted rules. For more information about Bowman House, visit or call (207) 882-7169.

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