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August 09, 2011

More Recent Interesting History Regarding the Captain Lord Mansion, A Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast

DoorstopsDanas Wedding 189 
This is a happy picture of our daughter Dana and her husband Eric sharing their cake on their wedding day, eighth years ago, here at the Captain Lord Mansion.  Their small wedding ceremony was performed at the Kennebunkport Village Baptist Church, after which their reception was held in the Mansion Carriage House.  The wedding took place on Labor Day weekend, 2003 and God blessed us with perfect weather.  Bev's decorations in the Carriage House included multiple strings of miniature white lights stapled on the barn ceiling where they were covered by lace netting.  Also, Bev used the same small lights, more lace netting and lots of ribbons to frame the Carriage House windows.  Dana chose green and purple as her colors, so those colored ribbons and bows were used as accents throughout.  The effect was magical.  What had been a rather rustic and mundane interior of a barn was transformed into a really attractive reception area. The effect was enhanced by tables and chairs covered in white linen.  Also, Dana selected Calla lillies as her flowers; Dana's bouquet featured them and Bev found lovely Calla lilly vases for table decorations. There were about 75 family members and close friends in attendance at the wedding and reception.  The affair was ably catered by Mountaintop Caterers; their buffet was located under a modest tent set up beside the carriage house, so guests could gather their food and move directly to the seating in the barn.  Bev also set up a smoothie bar in front of the carriage house; that was a neat additional touch for the reception!  After the reception, the young couple enjoyed their wedding night in the Captain's Suite (Merchant) before heading out for a week exploring Nova Scotia in Bev's (then) new convertible (since traded in).  I was able to make reservations for them at several excellent inns throughout Nova Scotia, so they stayed in some memorable bed and breakfast establishments.  This Labor Day they are celebrating their 8th anniversary.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

DoorstopsDanas Wedding 166 
The  happy couple, Dana and Eric after their vows!

DoorstopsDanas Wedding 184 
Bev, Dana, Eric and Rick

DoorstopsDanas Wedding 177 

August 02, 2011

Special Events from the Past at the Captain Lord Mansion, a Kennebunkport Bed & Breakfast Inn

 Lg Treasured Memories
Painting called "Treasured Memories" by Dennnis Perrin

For Charles Clark and his family, summers in Maine were a time of joyous family gatherings and celebrations.  One such event is reported in the Saturday, July 16, 1887 edition of The Wave, another local newspaper of the period.  It tells us that “Mr. Charles P. Clark, President of the New York and New Haven Railroad arrives at his residence today to attend the wedding of his daughter which takes place Wednesday.” We also read that Mr. Clark arrived by his own private railway coach, while other prominent guests arrived later by chartered railway coaches. The Wednesday, July 20, 1887 edition of The Wave describes the wedding:  “Wedding bells ring joyously to a brilliant marriage.  Professor Hincks and Bessie Clark are made one in the presence of a distinguished company.  The event took place in the parlor of the old ’Lord Mansion’ which has been in the Clark family for generations.  Strange to relate this is the first marriage to be celebrated in the old home since 1834 when the bride’s grandmother (Susan Lord Clark, daughter of Nathaniel Lord) was wedded.  The house itself was decked out in imposing style in honor of the event.  Evergreens were intertwined around the iron-rods of the front yard fence, presenting a unique and beautiful spectacle, which was brightened by an arch of oak boughs over the door.”  We think it is interesting to note the use of evergreen and oak boughs for decorations for a summer wedding; yet, there is no mention of flowers or ribbon. One is left only to contemplate the natural beauty of the greenery used for this wedding. 

The "parlor" mentioned in the newspaper article is now the B&B's guest-room "Merchant".  We have been told it was called the "wedding, wake and baptism" room.  When we purchased the Captain Lord Mansion in 1978, that room still had its original 1812 wallpaper.  Since the paper was badly degraded, stained and literally falling off the walls, we had it removed and donated salvageable portions to the local historical society.  Framed remnants will be on diplay next summer at the Kennebunkport Historical Society's exhibition center named after a local artist, Henry Pasco and his sister Priscilla.

DoorstopsDanas Wedding 195 
Dana and Eric cut the wedding cake in the "Mansion's Carriage House".

Bev and I celebrated out daughter Dana's wedding reception at the Captain Lord Mansion on Aug 31st, 2003.  She and her new husband Eric Nielsen were married at the Village Baptist Church in Kennebunkport that day and were escorted back to the inn and the reception by horse and carriage. We had the reception  in the old "Mansion" barn and carriage house. That was the last time the carriage house was that clean and neat!  Thus, the "Mansion's" tradition of being a center for family celebrations continues!  I will write about Dana's wedding in the next blog!  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

July 26, 2011

Charles P. Clark's Final Renovations to the Captain Lord Mansion, a Kennebunkport Bed & Breakfast Inn

 CLM Old Staircase 
Old Staircase at the entrance to the Bed & Breakfast Office

We believe it is fortunate that Charles decided to restrict his major alterations to the rear portion of the "mansion" and pretty much leave the front section alone, because much of the original 1812 architectural details still exist in that section of the building.  For example, there is the sweeping, suspended elliptical staircase at the front entrance, a 4 storey spiral cupola staircase which graces the center of the building, as well as the towering arches down the center hall,  hand-grained, painted doors with original "box locks" and so much more for visitors to marvel at and to enjoy today.  Also, there is a newly-exposed, narrow “servants staircase” that is by the entrance to the present-day inn office. The old staircase retains all the original 1812 architectural details such as narrow and steep stairs and little wall cubbies.

The April 20, 1900 edition of the Eastern Star reported that “Mr. Charles P. Clark is having a large porch built at the entrance to his mansion.”  That “large porch” actually is the Greek Revival style portico (canopy with pillars) now at the front of the inn.  Once again, the photographic record tells us that it replaced an arbor that originally graced the front door of the building.  This was the last renovation, which Charles would do; he died March 21, 1901 at Nice, France.

More to come about a special summer event held at the Captain Lord Mansion during Charles's ownership.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

CLM Hand Grained Door 
Original hand-grained door in 1812 section of the Mansion

July 12, 2011

Did You Know That the Captain Lord Mansion, a Kennebunkport Bed & Breakfast Inn was Remodelled in the Early 1800's by Daniel W. Lord, Nathaniel's Oldest Son?

1898 Photo of the CLM 
The Captain Lord Mansion circa mid to late 1800's

After Nathaniel's death in 1815, The Mansion continued to be his wife Phebe Lord’s home throughout her life.  Widowed at an early age, she never remarried.  Did the burden of raising their nine children keep her focused away from romantic inclinations?  One might think so!  Her oldest son Daniel W. Lord became her closest companion and protector.  Family diaries record Phebe making frequent trips to and from Boston with Daniel and his wife Lydia during the mid 1800’s.

Daniel’s own written records instructs us that he was active in the ownership and management of the “Mansion” from a time shortly after his father’s death until the 1850’s.  In a journal entry dated 1824, Daniel records that he made “an addition to the ‘Mansion’ commencing August 23rd, and ending Oct 2nd.”  No other written details reveal to us the exact nature of the addition.  However, photographs from that time show two, 2-story ells at the rear (east side) of the house.  Perhaps, Daniel added one or both of the ells.  In a diary entry from 1844, Daniel records that he “raised and put a new roof on the south 2 story part of the ‘Mansion’ and painted the roof with two coats of fish oil and varnish, half each with 3/4 yellow and 1/4 Spanish brown mixed together.  This included new shingles over the roof and the south door.”  Again a photograph from the 1850’s shows one 2-story ell at the rear east-facing side of the building. I have found detailed records of maintenance and additional changes for which both Daniel and Nathaniel were responsible.  However, Daniel was not the last of Nathaniel’s descendents to make extensive changes to the “Mansion”.  I'll cover that in my next Blog.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

July 05, 2011

Did You Know That the Captain Lord Mansion, A Kennebunkport Bed & Breakfast Inn was built 197 Years Ago in 1814?

The Captain Lord Mansion: The beginning of the story!

Fear gripped the entire New England coastline during the War of 1812. The British had marched on Washington and loosened their anger at having lost the previous war with the colonies, the American Revolution!  The angry British soldiers looted and burned.  Additionally, there was a British blockade of all commerce, plus their very meaningful threats to burn any coastal towns that continued to engage in commerce.  Enterprising citizens in seaports from Virginia to Massachusetts believed their cities and towns could be next to bear the wrath of English man-o-wars.  It was in this atmosphere of restricted mercantile activity that Nathaniel Lord, a wealthy Kennebunkport merchant and shipbuilder, decided to build his beautiful “Mansion”.  After all, what was he to do with his idle shipwrights?

Twenty-one year-old Nathaniel Lord married sixteen-year-old Phebe Walker on July 2, 1797.  Phebe was the daughter of another wealthy citizen, Daniel Walker.  Daniel gave the young couple a dowry of land that encompasses the area between Pleasant, Pearl and Maine Streets, where they built their first home in 1799.  Still standing, it is a white clapboard Colonial home of modest proportions.  That parcel of land also provided enough space where Nathaniel & Phebe would build their “Mansion” thirteen years later.

York County court papers provide documentation that distinguished Maine house-wright, Thomas Eaton was involved with the design and construction of the Captain Lord Mansion.  Nathaniel Lord’s estate papers include among the administrator’s expenses, several payments to a “T. Eaton. Today, Thomas Eaton is widely recognized for the excellence of his Federal buildings which include Kennebunk landmarks such as the Taylor Barry House, the Unitarian Church and Wallingford Hall.  Unfortunately, Nathaniel died of influenza at the age of 39 in 1815 and really didn't live long enough to enjoy his "mansion".

As I researched new information for this history, I have encountered new evidence and better documentation that the Captain Lord Mansion was actually built in 1814, not 1812.  I guess we'll have to postpone the celebration for a couple of years.  However, I'll continue my blogs this year with the history and it will become the basis of a booklet we'll publish in 1814. This blog covers the beginning of the facinating history for the Captain Lord Mansion.  I'll continue the saga in future posts and on our Facebook account.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

June 14, 2011

Have you seen the "Wedding Cake" House in Kennebunk on the Way to Kennebunkport?

Wedding cake house 
The Wedding Cake House located in Kennebunk, Maine 

The "Wedding Cake" name was applied to the house due to its wedding cake-like appearance. Legend developed that the busy Bourne, a sea captain, had done the carpentry work to atone for not having taken his bride, Jane, on a proper honeymoon. This was not the case.

Called the "most photographed house in the state" of Maine, the Wedding Cake House, known formally as the George W. Bourne House, is an historic house located at 104 Summer Street in Kennebunk, Maine. The home was built in 1825 by shipbuilder George W. Bourne (1801–1856), who later built a frame barn which he connected to the main house with a carriage house. In 1852, the barn caught fire and the carriage house was demolished to keep the fire from spreading to the house. Bourne, who during a European tour had been impressed by the Gothic beauty of the cathedral at Milan, rebuilt the carriage house and barn in what later came to be known as Carpenter Gothicstyle. Using hand tools, he crafted five buttresses with pinnacles on top of each. Then in order to tie the new structures in with the existing house, he added six buttresses with pinnacles to the house and then joined them together with intricate woodwork. His only help in doing this was Thomas Durrell, an apprentice ship's carpenter. Bourne spent the rest of his life adding to these embellishments.

So this is the true story of the Wedding Cake House.  When you visit the Captain Lord Mansion in Kennebunkport, we can direct you to view this magnificent architectural gem.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

August 17, 2010

What is "The Kennebunkport River Green" and Who Owns It?

Dp_rivergreen The "River Green" sits directly in front of the Captain Lord Mansion and stretches between Pleasant Street and Ocean Avenue.  Today, the sloping lawn is well manicured and is home to various summer events such as art shows, craft fairs and band concerts.  There is quite an interesting story of how the green came to be preserved as an open space for the benefit of tourists and townspeople alike!

Originally, in the 1800's there were 3 houses on the land.  Charles P. Clark was the owner of the Lord Mansion at the turn of the century (1899-1900) and he had the houses removed so that there was an unobstructed view of the Kennebunk River.  Charles was the grandson of Nathaniel Lord, builder of the Mansion.  He was also president of the New York - New Haven railroad and quite a wealthy individual.  His purchase of the land and his removal of the houses created an open space that continues to be enjoyed by many today.

The Lord Mansion, including the green, remained in the Lord family for 7 generations until 1972 when it was sold out of the family to a James Throumoulos.  That sale generated awareness amongst some townspeople that the green might be in jeopardy of being developed; thus it was the catalyst for the formation of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.  They raised sufficient money to purchase the green from Jim and thereby preserve it. The stone memorial shown in the foreground of this photograph celebrates the preservation of the green by the Trust.  As of today, the Trust has received as donations or purchased a tremendous amount of land throughout Kennebunkport that otherwise might have seen unwise development.  We are grateful for this organization and its foresight to preserve parts of our town for the enjoyment of future generations.

The first Robert Dennis photo catches the "Village Green" in early May before the leaves totally obscure the Captain Lord Mansion.  The second Dennis photo shows the green with a coat of winter white.DSC_4069_1

Your Innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

August 10, 2010

We Remember: Excerpts From The 20th Anniversary Captain Lord Mansion "Captain's Log", Spring 1998

2010 Garden Pictures 008 Recently we came across an old Captain Lord Mansion newsletter dated "Spring 1998".  We called these newsletters "The Captain's Log" and  mailed them to our quite extensive guest mailing list.  However, with the advent of the computer and emails, we discontinued direct mail newsletters about the time this 1998 newsletter was published. 

It was fascinating for us to reminisce about the renovations we made during the winter of 1997.  Bev and I often try to remember exact dates when we made certain changes to the inn; these old newsletters certainly provide us clear dates on which we made additions, alterations and renovations.  Let me quote: "Winter renovations - our guiding principles.  Your comfort, safety and enjoyment of the inn have always been guiding factors for us when considering improvements and/or changes we might make to the inn."  That principle has never changed and has motivated our thinking and actions for the past 32 years. 

That winter we renovated the baths in Regulator, Harvest, Union and Lincoln.  Also, we added the double jacuzzi-style tub to Union's bath and enlarged the shower area in LIncoln, as well as adding heated marble/tile floors to all four rooms. The oversize jetted tubs for Regulator and Harvest would come later!  Additionally, that winter we freshened the kitchen with new wallpaper and painted the woodwork.  In the spring of 1997 we had added the "Memory Garden" and that fall we added the second section of heated walkway leading to the guest entrance.  The fruition of our increased attention to our gardens came in the summer of 1998.  Bev has continued to improve our gardens every year since.  For example, the beautiful waterfall feature was added three year ago, we added new sculptures of the children and the dogs over the past several years and finally added new granite stone walls at the parking lot entrance this spring.

Bev and I believe the exterior of the inn is really like another guest room because in the summer and fall the guests use the grounds as much as they do their rooms.  We hope those of you visiting this summer and fall will find the gardens a beautiful, comfortable and restful place to relax and unwind.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

August 22, 2008

Art history Comes Alive at the Inn...again!

As promised, another entry about the art that graces the walls of the Captain Lord Mansion.  Bev and I know that some of you, when you come to visit, really enjoy these exquisite, extraordinary pieces. Now, permit us to share a little of their history with you.

This month's piece is one that is quite dear to our hearts: Anniversary Celebration commissioned for our 10th anniversary (June 15th, 1988) and painted by primitive painter Cissy Buchanan. During our early years as innkeepers, Cissy became a good friend and showed her work at Mast Cove Gallery which is located in Kennebunkport next to the Graves Memorial Library.


We knew of Cissy's work long before this piece was commissioned.  We loved her beach rocks series and other primitive pieces we would see at Jean Briggs' Mast Cove Gallery.  It was one style of art missing from our collection at the Mansion, so it all seemed to make perfect sense to commission Cissy to create a special work of art celebrating our 10th anniversary.

But what makes this piece even more enticing are the little details Cissy incorporated into the piece. I notice new ones every time I look at the painting.  Do you recognize anybody?

That's yours truly on the high-wheel bike, riding in front of the historic "cup and saucer" house (circa 1784), which was our private residence for the past 25 years.  Waving to me is Bev and our two daughters, Dana and Stacia.

Ciccy2In another section of the painting, the lady in white is again, my Bev, with our Dana (now a grown woman...expect an update on her life in an upcoming post) chasing ducks with Aggie. Do you remember Aggie?  She was our Mansion cat?  She lived to be about 16 years old!

Cissy3In another part of the painting, we see our neighbors, Michael and Suzanne, in their garden, where on any given summer day, they can be found.

For me, there is one being represented in this painting for whom I am still searching. I'd love to meet her, but I haven't found her yet! If you see her around, please, let me know!


Your Innkeeper - Rick Litchfield

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