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The Architecture of EB Blaisdell & FC Watson on York Harbor, ME
Presentation given to the members of the York Harbor Reading Room on August 2, 2017 entitled: "The Lost Gold Coast of York Harbor".
Ridge Cliff Cottage?
Do you know where this cottage was located? We think it became a guest house at one point.
An early photo of Craigmere located off Shore Road in Cape Neddick.
Photo of E.B. Blaisdell?
Is there a photo of E.B. Blaisdell - the York Harbor Architect? So far we haven't found a photo or any original drawings - if you have one - please contact us.
Elm Cottage Portrait by artist Pamela duLong Williams. (email@example.com), Website: www.pameladulongwilliams.com
Best Cantilever Roof!
This cantilever roof over the front entry is just amazing and seems to defy gravity! See other architectural details by clicking here.
Corrections and Additions
This site contains information that has been collected from many different sources and is subject to errors or clarifications. If you have additional information, please contact us, and we will do our best to verify and update the site.
Please Contribute Your Knowledge!
We are actively seeking information on specific cottages and architects. Contact us as Info@YHCottage.Com
How does a 15,000 square foot cottage just disappear?
Rockledge Cottage - Circa 1919
We started this project by trying to answer the question of 'how one of the largest cottages in York Harbor could just disappear'? How there could be so little information available?
When we first moved to York Harbor, our neighbor Elvis Reed who was a caretaker for another property would tell us some amazing stories about earlier times. We took his stories with a grain of salt such as when he told us that the Queen of England's Rolls Royce was kept in our garage (mostly true!) He told us that our summer cottage was one of the outbuildings of the original Rockledge estate owned by Thomas Nelson Page, a famous author, and US Ambassador to Italy during WWI. As we started our research, we were puzzled at how little information was available on this very large cottage. We learned that when Thomas Nelson Page and his wife Florence Lathrop passed away in 1922, the two daughters divided and sold off parts of the 7.5 acre estate. The main cottage burned down during WWII (1944) and by 1948 all of the property and buildings were in other families hands. Over many months of research we started to piece the whole story together - and it was quite a story (click here to read the whole story). More importantly, we started to understand how a 15,000 square foot cottage could be lost. Look at the bottom of this page for a framework on Cottage Visibility.
Sometimes the journey leads you to new and unexpected places. Through our personal cottage research we began to see that the York Cottage Cottage story really had not been told. There has been much written on the history of York Harbor during the 1880-1930's era with a focus on the Marshall House, the Reading Room, Trinity Church, and the York Country Club - but actually very little on the architecture of the individual cottages. We decided that we would try to tell that story - but we wanted to do it a little differently:
The 1930 York Harbor Cottage Booklet
The good news is that in 1930, the York Harbor Improvement Corporation published a 60 page booklet of individual pictures of the cottages of the summer colony, and listed the (then) current owners of the cottages with a fold-out map of the cottage locations. The booklet was a promotional piece used to encourage potential visitors to come to York Harbor to rent or buy one of the cottages. It probably was not recognized when it was published in 1930 that the United States was headed for the years after the stock market crash of 1929, and beginning of the end of the cottage era. Unlike other summer colonies in Maine this booklet represents a very significant physical record of the cottages, and established a baseline for our project.
Click this link below for a digitized version of this publication by the Maine State Library. It's a large file (57MB)
Although referred to commonly as the “Shingle Style", the cottages built between 1880 and 1930 in York Harbor represent a range of architectural styles including Colonial Revival, Queen Ann, Victorian, Tutor and Arts & Craft or Stickley style. Many cottage's exteriors were covered in shingles (instead of clapboards or stucco) and many features were copied from one cottage to another.
Much has changed by 2014 in the 84 years since this booklet was published, but fortunately an estimated 75% of the cottages listed in the publication still survive today. One of the first challenges of The York Harbor Cottage Project was to take an inventory of what exists today, and compare this to the booklet to establish a baseline. Cottages have been altered, trees have grown, and sometimes the angle of the photograph taken did not represent the ‘common’ view from the street or the cliff path (ocean) side. To help manage the scope of the project, we eliminated any cottage that did not have a photograph an other structures such hotels, inns, shops or public buildings. There are some mistakes in the booklet where cottages are listed, but not shown on the fold-out map. There are also more cottages that are listed on the map, but no photograph exists in the booklet. Even with these errors, we had a daunting task of verifying over 150 cottages and where possible, taking a current photograph of the cottage. We believe that in some cases, we have provided a photograph on this site that is a better representation of the cottage architecturally than what was shown in the original booklet of 1930.
Our goals for this project:
Key Insights and Learnings
Click Here to see some of the Key Insights and Learnings from the York Harbor Cottage Project to date.
New Book - The Architecture of EB Blaisdell and FC Watson
The York Harbor Cottage Project has just published its first book on the Architecture of EB Blaisdell and FC Watson of York Harbor, Maine. The book is available FREE in PDF format and can be downloaded by clicking HERE. It's a very large file (56MB). Based on information collected through the York Harbor Cottage Project from 2011 to 2016, this 108 page full color book with 285 photographs documents the work of local architects EB Blaisdell and FC Watson between 1885 and 1910.
If you download the PDF file - go get a cup of coffee - because of the size of the file (56MB) - it will take a few minutes to download based on the speed of your internet connection. We suggest that you open it in Adobe and then save to your hard drive.