Thursday, July 23, 2009

historic house tour: tate house

I admit that this tour is a bit of a tease as I did not actually get to see inside (so, I promise a part II some day!). It was pouring rain the day I stopped by the Tate House. Knowing it was closed, I thought perhaps I might be able to snap a few views form the street. However, I had the good fortune of running into the chairman of the board. He gave me a plan of the colonial-style garden (a riot of roses, lavender, sweet basil, and scented geranium), and graciously allowed me to walk around the property.

The Tate House was built in 1755 on a hilltop overlooking the Fore River in Portland, Maine, and the city’s once bustling mast yards. Maine was then the primary source of white pine, prized for its use as ship masts. George Tate came to Portland, along with his wife Mary, to serve as Mast Agent for the British Navy, overseeing the export of white pine to the great shipyards of England.

Tate modeled his Georgian-style home after the fashionable townhouses of London. At the time, it was exceptional for its grand size, innovative gambrel roof, and windowed third story. Though it is now dwarfed by neighboring Victorians and rambling townhouses, the house remains a relatively intact example of colonial architecture. Most extraordinary of all, the clapboards have never been painted!

8 comments:

Style Court said...

I remember your passion for this house. It is so beautiful and iconic. Can't believe the clapboards haven't been painted.

bwemerson said...

I'm sorry you didn't get to go inside--the interiors are simple and lovely--one of my favorites. When in Portland have you ever done the other three equally amazing historic houses there? They are the recently and evocatively restored Longfellow House, the elegant Federal Sweat Mansion adjoining the Museum of Art, and the ebullient and lush Morse Libby House, early Herter Bros, built for a New Orleans Hotelier and completely over the top.

Hope someday we can pursuade you to do a Fisher House tour...we're making some interesting changes there.

Love your posts, as always. Wave next time you're in Maine.

little augury said...

There is nothing more fascinating to my mind than a house-unless it is the people who have inhabited it. Portland Maine is beautiful especially as a summer escape from the heat. la

Anonymous said...

Love the colors. KDM

Scott Fazzini said...

That house is an absolute dream! You've gotta share with us the inside soon!

home before dark said...

What are the clapboards made of? Kryptonite? Fascinating they have survived unpainted. There is an austerity here that resonates. I can see why it calls out to you.

pve design said...

If you love this, then you would love Shaker Town in Kentucky. It is one of my most favorite spots in the world. The simplicity of design touches my heart.
pve

Semigloss Chic said...

That door trim is the absolute most perfect shade of butter-creamy yellow ever. What a front door it has to frame, too!