Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Things to see in Wiscasset, Maine [Part 5]

Looking for things to do in Maine? You’ve come to the right place! Welcome to Part 5 of our blog
series, “What to do in Wiscasset”. This blog will cover some of the best sights in the quaint,
historic town of Wiscasset, Maine. You can learn more about (and take a tour of) each of the
places described using the ‘Wiscasset’s Museum in the Streets’ mobile tour guide app available for
Apple and Android. Read Parts 1 through 4 of the series here. If you want to check out another blog
in the series, click on Part 1, 2, 3 or 4.


Haggetts Garage



In 1898, Haggett Bros. began selling hardware and plumbing services in Wiscasset. Livery stables were
the center of transportation in Wiscasset as in most 19th century towns, and the Haggetts supplied
their hardware. The story of Haggett’s Garage is the story of the transition from horse-drawn travel to
cars and is included in all Maine tours.


Custom House



In 1789, President George Washington designated Wiscasset,Maine an official U.S. Port of Entry. We
were one of twenty-one such ports, and the northernmost custom house in the new nation. Every
ship entering the country had to show documents identifying the vessel, cargo, and country of origin.
Customs fees were the government’s primary source of revenue in the days before taxes. In 1791,
Francis Cook was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be Collector of Customs in Wiscasset. He held the
position for 38 years.


Wiscasset Sailing Vessels, Casilda, Tamerlane and When and If
Imagine what it must have been like when Wiscasset village was filled with the sounds and smells of
a busy 19th century waterfront. Boat and shipbuilding in Wiscasset boomed between the end of the
American Revolution and the 1807 Embargo, and then again from the late 1830s until 1861. By 1865,
Wiscasset was too small for the larger cargo ships, but boat building continued with a focus on yachts
and smaller boats.


Wiscasset's Railroads 1849 - 2013



By rail and by sea - Wiscasset could have been a natural transportation hub, but the timing was off.
By the time the railroads came, fewer and fewer cargo ships were coming to Wiscasset harbor.


Powder House



From the seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries, Americans protected themselves from attack
by maintaining local groups of volunteer soldiers known as the militia. During the Revolutionary War
and the War of 1812, ammunition for the militia was stored away from the center of town as a safety
precaution, as mentioned in multiple Maine tours.

Of course, these are only a few of the sites you can see in Wiscasset, Maine.
To read the previous blog, click here.

Things to see in Wiscasset, Maine [Part 4]

Looking for things to do in Maine? You’ve come to the right place! Welcome to Part 4 of our blog
series, “What to do in Wiscasset”. This series will cover some of the best sights in the quaint,
historic town of Wiscasset, Maine. You can learn more about (and take a tour of) each of the
places described using the ‘Wiscasset’s Museum in the Streets mobile tour guide app available
for Apple and Android.
If you want to check out another blog in the series, click on Part 1, 2, 3,or 5.


Wawenock Block



Alexander Johnston, who handled the business side of his family’s large shipping business, designed
and named this commercial building after a band of the Penobscots, Native Americans who lived in
this area before the first English settlements. Local builder Henry Bragdon completed the block in
Wiscasset 1858.


Downtown Stores



19th - early 20th century downtown Wiscasset, Maine provided for all your basic needs and more.
In 1898, there were grocers, doctors, apothecaries, fancy and dry goods stores, hardware stores,
dressmakers, hairdressers, a casket business, a shoe store, a telephone company, a telegraph office,
an American Express office and several banks. By 1905, there was even a Billiard Hall!


R.H.T. Taylor



You are looking at what used to be R.H.T. Taylor’s store. Richard Hawley Tucker Taylor was one of
14 children of James and Harriet Taylor. James was an English mariner who immigrated to the United
States. He named his son after his employer, Captain Richard H. Tucker, Sr. When James Taylor fell on
hard times in the early 1840s, Tucker and his wife Mary took the elder Taylor children into their home
and sent them to school when their father could not afford to do so.


Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway
Nineteenth-century America’s industrial revolution could not have taken place without the railroads.
In Maine, railroads were the only way to transport the huge amounts of lumber, coal and agricultural
products that were our economy. The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railroad had been in
business about ten years when Carson Peck, vice president of F.W. Woolworth Co., bought the
struggling railroad in 1907. He modified the name, paid off all the debts and invested new capital
into the business. Soon, the WW&F Railway had 90 freight cars, 6 passenger cars and 7 engines.


Hesper & Luther Little
The two schooners that were for many years an iconic image of Wiscasset were neither built here
nor sailed from here.


Richard III
In 1859, Captain Richard H. Tucker, Sr. named his latest ship after his new grandson, Richard H. Tucker,
III, the firstborn son of Mollie and Captain Richard H. Tucker, Jr. Built in Portsmouth, NH, the new ship
was 175 feet long with three masts and twenty sails. Her hull was painted black and olive green.

Of course, these are only a few of the sites you can see in Wiscasset, Maine.
To read the previous blog, click here; to read the next blog click here.

Things to see in Wiscasset, Maine [Part 3]

Looking for things to do in Maine? You’ve come to the right place! Welcome to Part 3 of our blog
series, “What to do in Wiscasset”. This series will cover some of the best sights in the quaint,
historic town of Wiscasset, Maine. You can learn more about (and take a tour of) each of the
places described using the ‘Wiscasset’s Museum in the Streets’ mobile tour guide app available
for Apple and Android.
If you want to check out another blog in the series, click on Part 1, 2, 4 or 5.


Stacy House



The first building on this spot was a sturdy two-story wooden house with a large central chimney
built by Nymphas Stacy shortly after the American Revolution. Stacy had moved to Wiscasset, Maine
from Cape Ann, MA. The building housed both his family home and his place of business, Stacy’s
Tavern. His tavern became the favored eating establishment of the Masons, the Lincoln Lodge and
other local clubs. As an innkeeper, Stacy was famed for the excellence of both his table and his punch
bowl. He was also a savvy businessman, establishing a very successful tan yard and later a chandlery
that sold candles made from tallow from the tan yard. Nymphas Stacy died in 1811, leaving a widow
and three sons. The house he built stood until 1876.


Kingsbury House 1763



This is the oldest two-story house in Wiscasset, but it was not always here on this spot. The house
was built by Colonel John Kingsbury in 1763. Kingsbury was born in Newburyport, MA in 1718, fought
in the Provincial Service of the British Army in the French and Indian War and rose to the rank of
colonel. When the county was incorporated in 1760, he was appointed one of “His Majesty’s Justices
of the Peace for the County of Lincoln”. According to the Massachusetts Gazette of Thursday,
23 August 1764, John Kingsbury died at the age of 47 in Boston while on a trip to buy supplies for
Wiscasset’s new meetinghouse.


Nickels-Sortwell House 1807
In 1807, Captain William Nickels built one of the finest examples of high Federal-style architecture in
New England. From the elegant entrance to stunning interior detailing, this was Nickels’ trophy house,
designed to proclaim the wealth and taste of its owner. International trade had made Wiscasset rich
and Captain Nickels was one of several shipping magnates building beautiful houses in town at the
time and is one of the best places to go in Maine.


Hilton House, Sunken Garden



A secret garden alive with flowers three seasons of the year, the Sunken Garden was created by
Frances Sortwell in the foundation of the old Hilton House hotel.


Lower Main St and Wiscasset Bridge
Lower Main Street is where changes in technology, transportation and the economy have had the
most visible impact on Wiscasset, Maine.


Rundlett Block



Richard Tucker Rundlett, a 28 year-old entrepreneur, built this brick and granite commercial building in
1872, with financial help from his uncle, Captain Richard H. Tucker, Jr. (of Castle Tucker). Offering
modern shop, office and meeting space, it has anchored the south side of Main Street ever since and
is a must visit in places to go to in Maine.

Of course, these are only a few of the sites you can see in Wiscasset, Maine.
To read the previous blog, click here; to read the next blog click here.

Things to see in Wiscasset, Maine [Part 2]

Looking for things to do in Maine? You’ve come to the right place! Welcome to Part 2 of our blog
series, “What to do in Wiscasset”. This series will cover some of the best sights in the quaint,
historic town of Wiscasset, Maine. You can learn more about (and take a tour of) each of the
places described using the ‘Wiscasset’s Museum in the Streets’ mobile tour guide app available
for Apple and Android.
If you want to check out another blog in the series, click on Part 1, 3, 4, or 5.


The Common




All early New England towns had a Common. Carried over from the English tradition, this was an area
in the center of town that could be used as a gathering place for community activities or by town
residents to graze their animals. A town’s most prominent homes and meeting house were usually
built around the Common. Wiscasset’s Common is smaller than it originally was, but it’s still here - a
triangle of land at the top of the hill facing the river, ending in a point near Summer Street and is one
of the most interesting things to see in Maine.


Swett - Johnston - Neal House 1805




This house was built in 1805 by ship’s mate Joseph Swett, who sold it shortly thereafter to fellow
seaman Captain John Johnston, Jr., eldest son of the Wiscasset shipping family. Captain Jack, as he
was known, was captain of the Stirling, built that same year just three miles up the Sheepscot River.
The Stirling became renowned for her adventures at sea and for the skill and bravery of her master in
the tumultuous and dangerous years of the Napoleonic Wars.


Bailey Tucker House 1803
This is a story about the end of a beautiful house. In 1803, Judge Jeremiah Bailey built his home here,
a fitting companion to the other beautiful houses on the street. The house stood where the
courthouse addition is now.


St. Philip’s Episcopal Church 1823




Most of the early settlers of Maine were Protestant - Congregationalists and Presbyterians – with
a smaller number of Catholics. But legally, it didn’t matter what religion you were. Under
Massachusetts law, all adults were expected to attend the local church, whatever denomination
it happened to be. Deemed to be too English during the American Revolution, the Episcopal
(or Anglican) Church gradually made inroads into coastal Maine communities, forming parishes
in most towns.


Wiscasset Academy 1807
Early Wiscasset education consisted of free district schools, with tutors teaching reading, writing,
arithmetic and the Bible. Supplies and classroom space were donated. There were no official rules
about how much schooling children should be given or how often they should go to school. As a result,
a child’s education depended on their parents’ means and occupation. Wiscasset recognized the
importance of having a good school for children in town, even if it was only available to those who
could pay. In 1807, a group of town leaders raised the money and built this private academy to
provide higher education to the town’s young people. By 1848, the co-ed school had 87 students,
whose parents paid $5 for an eleven-week term. The curriculum included English, classical Greek,
Latin, or French and the option to study Italian, Spanish, music, and drawing.


Octagon House 1855
This 1855 house was unlike any other in Wiscasset, Whether it was based on President Thomas
Jefferson’s Popular Forest, the earliest octagon house in the U.S. built in Virginia in 1811, or a design
from Orson S. Fowler’s popular 1848 book, The Octagonal Mode, we do not know. To Fowler, the
octagon shape was optimal for modern healthy family living. Eight sides allowed more windows and
more light into the house. His design included private bedrooms, central heating, indoor flush toilets
and hot and cold running water. All rooms opened to a central hall with a spiral staircase, creating
room for closets and storage space. Since it could be built in any size, theoretically, the design could
fit any income level.


Old Jail Museum




The Old Lincoln County Jail was built in 1811 to replace a wooden jail woefully inadequate to
prisoners eager to break free and is one of the most interesting things to see in Maine.


You can see the graves of the Carlton family right at the front of the cemetery closest to the street.
Part of the land for the cemetery was given to the town in 1831 by the heirs of Nymphas Stacy whose
home is our next stop, the Stacy House. Photo courtesy of Lincoln County Historical Association.


Of course, these are only a few of the sites you can see in Wiscasset, Maine.
To read the previous blog, click here; to read the next blog click here.