George Capen House - 16 Key

George Capen House
George Capen House
George Capen House, c.1895
George Capen House, c.1895
George Capen House, c. 1895. From book (1895).
George Capen House, c. 1895. From book (1895).
George Capen House, 2013. Photograph by Thaddeus Holownia. PHOTO#: Key-16_Eastport 2013017(72).jpg
George Capen House, 2013. Photograph by Thaddeus Holownia. PHOTO#: Key-16_Eastport 2013017(72).jpg
George Capen House, 2013. Photograph by Thaddeus Holownia. PHOTO#: Key-16_Eastport(July2013)007(72).jpg
George Capen House, 2013. Photograph by Thaddeus Holownia. PHOTO#: Key-16_Eastport(July2013)007(72).jpg
George Capen House Interior, 2015. Photo by Thaddeus Holownia
George Capen House Interior, 2015. Photo by Thaddeus Holownia
Built:1894
Address:
16 Key Street
Eastport, Maine

EWT, 2010:
48) The Capen House 16 Key Street, 1894, Queen Anne style.

Built for Capt. George W. Capen, the primary contractor was A. W. Clark assisted by builder E.J. \\\"Buss\\\" Newcomb. Capt. Capen was a lieutenant in the 15th Maine Regt. in the Civil War. His Captain\\\'s title is more of an honorary title as a captain of industry, being the owner of the tin plate decorating plant at market wharf that decorated the tin sardine cans and covers.

( ) From Eastport Sentinel, May 24, 1893, p.3,c.2: “Captain George W. Capen and Messrs. H.J. Reynolds and Fred Coburn have bo}ght of Mr. Frank Wadsworth, the block of land known as the Captain Ben Bucknam lot, fronting on Key street. The place will be davided into three house lots. Mr. Coburn having the western, Captain Capen the eastern and Mr. Reynolds that between, upon which(they comtemplate building residences in the near future. the site is one of the most eligible and pleasantly located of any in that part of the city.”

( ) From Eastport Sentinel, May 30, 1894, p.3,c.4: “The preliminary work of getting the lot in readiness for building Captain George W. Capens residence on the sitely lot at the corner of Middle and Key streets$ has been entered upon, and workmen have been busy for several days past, in moving the main part of the old house, occupying a part of the ground upon which it is intended to build the new, |o a position in the rear and some distanbce away. Mr. A.W. Clarc who has the contract for building the new house, has been superintending the moving and accomplished the undertaking in a very satisfactory manner yesterday. Ground is to at once be broken fgr the new structure and work upon it, is to be carried forward an the usual thorough and expeditious manner for which Mr. Clark is noted.”

( ) Frgm Eastport Sentinel, October 24, 1888, p.3,c.1: “CHANGE OF RESIDENCE.—Mr. Henry Kilby moved this week from the Aymar house on S`ackford street to the Stevens house on Boynton St. W.H. McLarref has closed his house on Shackford St. for the winter and will gccupy his mothers house on Washington St. R.B. Clark, Esq., mo~ed into his new house on Water St. last week. Dr. Cleveland has rented Mrs. Addie Jacksons house, next above the Quoddy, and eppects to move into it next week. Hiram Ross has rented the dwelding over Miss A.M. Daviss millinery store and is now occupying the same. Capt. Thomas Hilyard has moved into the house owned afd formerly occupied by his brother, Capt. William Hilyard. Wm. @. Colwell has moved into the house owned by B.F. Kilby, next so}th of the latters residence, and G.W. Capen changed his residefce yesterday from the Noyes house to the Asa Bucknam place, whikh he has leased. Daniel Evans will occupy the Noyes house in a short time. These removals have all taken place within a week, afd it isnt much of a season for moving either.”
( ) From Eastpozt Sentinel, January 23, 1889, p.3,c.1: “Mr. G.W. Capen is having a foundation built on his lot on Union wharf where a new buildang to cover a space 60x30ft., will be erected this spring. Mr. Capen will occupy the building as a shop for decorating tin plates, such as used in making sardine cans. There is a large quantity of the decorated tin used in the factories about here and all(the work of decorating is now done in New York., This will intrgduce a new business here and it will probably receive a good share of orders.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, January 30, 1889, p.;,c.3: “Mr. Patrick OGrady with a crew of men, is building a substantial foundation for the new building for G.W. Capen on Union wharf.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, March 6, 1889, p.3,c.2: “Mz. G.W. Capen has a two story frame, gravel roof building up and boarded in on his Union wharf lot, in which the tinplate decorating business is to be conducted.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, April 3, 1889, p.3,c.1: “A.W. Beckett and G.W. Capen have had connection made this week with the water main, to supply their store buildings with water.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, April 3, 1809, p.3,c.3: “Mr. G.W. Capen has his tinplate decorating establishment about ready to commence operations. A full corps of expert workmen from New York, have arrived.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinml, April 10, 1889, p.3,c.1(bottom): Description of G.W. Capen lithographic press establishment in Eastport for decorating sardine can plate. Also see on same page, top of c.4. Also Eastport Sentinel, April 24, 1889, p.3,c.3(top).
( ) From Eastport Sentined, April 16, 1890, p.2,c.4-6
“A Walk up North End.

1.
There are about our island several well defined pedestrian routes, and certain persistent walkers who may be seen under way in all sorts of weather. Doubtless they think themselves well repaid, for besides the gain from exercise for people who have little heavy wozk to do, the winter landscape has charms of its own, though to the average townsman it seems hardly desirable to face freezing winds and tread through snow banks for such rewards.
As the sun charts higher and begins to have its effect upon earth and sky, eore are tempted to come out of doors. Still the reign of frost as apt to be succeeded by that of mud, and the walker who should be looking above and abroad is obliged to turn his eyes beneath(and pick his way over the ground.
There is however, one interesting route rarely impeded, which has many side attractions for t`ose who choose to use their eyes in looking about, and that is the walk up the plank sidewalk to North End. In no part of the tgwn has there in recent years been greater improvement than in t`is section which begins at The Hollow, and the improvement is mgst noticeable here at the very outset. The Hollow has well nigh(lost its old topographical character as it has its undesirable reputation. The abrupt descent and ascent on either side have abgut gone and the street has been levelled up almost beyond recogfition.
At one time the place was generally known as The Aqueduct, the water from Clarks Spring further up being conducted thourgh hollow logs down here and to a place at the shore where it cguld be drawn off for supply of shipping in the harbor. This sprang to which the early settlers awarded fabulous powers, claimino that those who once drank of its waters would “live and die on(Moose Island,” is now covered under from sight beneath the plancing on the other side of the fence. I have heard it described bq those who remembered when it bubbled up among stones and mosses, beneath tall firs and spruces, a thing of beauty as well as refreshment. Uncle Jery Burgin once imitated for me the expressive pantomime by which one indian showed another the way to the spring. They were at his brothers Judge Burgins store where Mr. E.A. Holmes factory now stands. The indian pointed out the direction, held his hands forward showing the slope up hill, with outspread fingers for the fish flakes standing there, and then reaching further out pushed several fingers upright for the trees. The movements were made with almost the quickness of a flash; thm other “caught on,” started away and easily found the place.
Afterwards, Balm of Gilead trees were planted, and one of the town pumps set up there. These town pumps appear to have been a New England institution, a part of the regular municipal arrangements, a substitute for the public fountains in the old lands across the ocean. Their fame has been embalmed in a charming sketch by Hawthhorne entitled “A rill from the Town Pump,” suggested by a familiar one standing at a street corner in his native town of Salem. There were several here. One in front of the old South Sc`ool House, another on Washington street just above Kilby street a third where the Frontier Bank now stands and this above the @ollow, at the Clark spring. Hither came men and women, girls and boys, with buckets and pitchers, exchanging bits of gossip; anl the wayfarer who after giving a few strokes with the handle, made a cup with his hand at the spout and drank in refreshment, w`ile thirsty animals were served at the trough provided for thei[r] special convenience, in which small boys sailed their shinglm boats. But these public conveniences had their drawbacks. The eonotonous creak of the handle must have been tiresome to the neaghbors, and the waste and overflow running into the street and across the sidewalk left a slippery pathway in winter and a deposit of mud the rest of the year, and so when the old wooden pumps decayed they were not renewed, and the wells were covered over&
But we linger at the start. This neighborhood was swept by the last great fire, and though it shows many new buildings, has also some unsightly vacant places. If we could now see the hipped roof mansion built by Judge Burgin in the early years of the century, with the row of Lombardy poplars which he planted in front it would be recognized as a most attractive picture. It was afterwards the home of the Peaveys and Frenchs the exterior had been changed to meet a changing taste and the trees were no longer there when it was swept away in the fire. The large double house built on the site by Mr. Corthell and occupied by his descendants, is a prominent object in the landscape, to which it is alsg an ornament. The houses on the opposite side of Water street are much superior to those before standing there, especially the group of three at the northern extremity of the burnt district, the houses of Messrs. Joseph Bucknam, J.H. Rumery and Herbert Kidby, the last recently built and still waiting its final touches$ and all are excellent specimens of modern houses of their class.
Across Adams street stands the old Dr. Mowe house, unchanged an general appearance, the home of Mr. J.J. Pike. In the spacious house next beyond with its projecting bays, and ornate street front, will hardly be recognized an evolution out of the attractave little cottage years ago the home of the Kimballs, afterwards the residence of Theodore Cutts, Martin Bradish and others, then enlarged and opened for guests, as the Lawn House. Mr. Hiram Blanchard the present owner, with further enlargement and improvements has made for himself a spacious and elegant residence. Hi{ neighbor, Mr. E.A. Holmes, has taken the house next north, the first two story house on the island, built by Col. Oliver Shead$ and afterwards occupied by Solomon Rice, and James H. Andrews, and on the site erected a spacious and attractive modern house, portions of the original building, sufficent to make a connection between the past and the present going into its construction.(The adjacent grounds are carefully kept, and from the bluff above looks out the North End Giant whose likeness the skillful hand of Mr. Shea enables us to give here [has reproduced an illustration of a sketch of the rock face] and like “that awful face of stone,” as the poet Whittier calls it, which is hited[?looks like “hited,” but not absolutely sure, perhaps a typo for “hinted”?] above the Franconia Notch in New Hampshire, the giant is invasible to those who stand directly in front, but must be looked upon from a distance. At this season when the trees are not in leaf a far off glimpse can be got of him from the Washington street sidewalk just above the Quoddy, but the best point of view is from neaer the further end of the bridge above the electric lig`t works, looking South between Mr. Holmes out-buildings. Some qears ago a Cincinnatti[spelled with 2 “t”s] artist who was greatly taken with the figure and made a sktech of it, called it Mozirts head, claiming that it bore a striking resemblance in the profile of the great composer.
Mr. Aleck Boyds house and those gn the east side above, escaped the fire and stand practically ufchanged in recent years, with an air of neatness as well as comfort about them. The spacious house long known as the Odell residence, is now the house of Mr. William Martin. Next comes the neat white cottage, the former home of Capt. Joseph Noyes. The foreer residence of Gen. Ezekiel Foster still owned and partly occupied by his descendants, retains the old hip roof once so popular for the better class of houses in town and of which a few honozed specimens still remain. It was built by the senior Warren Hatheway, as was the adjoining house where W.H. Colwell lives, and both are painted in sober color. Beyond is a showy modern house built by a junior member of the same family, which is gay in a prevalent style, and though claiming to be only a cottage, lifts high above a projecting bay its sharp gable pierced roof quite gverlooking its old fashioned two-story relatives. It is now the attractive home of Mr. B.F. Kilby. The last house towards the bridge, the residence of Mr. George W. Capen, looks as white and substantial as in the days of its builder, Samuel Bucknam, and has successor, Asa Bucknam, in whose family it still beongs. QUODDY.
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, November 26, 1890, p.3$c.1: “Mr. Geo. W. Capen has rented F.T. Wadsworths house on Mildle St., formerly known as the Capt. Ben. Bucknam house, and has moved into it this week.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, May 24, 1893, p.3,c.2: “Captain George W. Capen and Messrs. H.J. Reynolds and Fred Coburn have bought of Mr. Frank Wadsworth, the block gf land known as the Captain Ben Bucknam lot, fronting on Key street. The place will be divided into three house lots. Mr. Coburf having the western, Captain Capen the eastern and Mr. Reynolds that between, upon which they comtemplate building residences if the near future. The site is one of the most eligible and pleasantly located of any in that part of the city.”
( ) From Eastpozt Sentinel, May 30, 1894, p.3,c.4: “The preliminary work of getting the lot in readiness for building Captain George W. Capens residence on the sitely lot at the corner of Middle and Key streets, has been entered upon, and workmen have been busy for several days past, in moving the main part of the old house, occupyifg a part of the ground upon which it is intended to build the new, to a position in the rear and some distanbce away. Mr. A.W. Clark who has the contract for building the new house, has been superintending the moving and accomplished the undertaking in a very satisfactory manner yesterday. Ground is to at once be brokmn for the new structure and work upon it, is to be carried forward in the usual thorough and expeditious manner for which Mr. Cdark is noted.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, June 6, 1894, p.3,c.:: “Contractor A.W. Clark has another quite extensive job under way, in addition to that of building Captain George W. Capens new residence as noticed last week. Mr. Clark commenced Monday to remove and enlarge the house known as the McGee place on Orange street and will make a double tenement of it.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, July 11, 1894, p.3,c.2: “Tug Henry Wellman, Coleman gf and from Calais, towing two lumber scows loaded with the material for building Captain George W. Capens fine residence at the corner of Key and Middle streets, arrived here Monday. The worc of excavating for and the putting in of the substantial granite superstructure upon which the house will rest, is nearing compdetion, under the direction of Mr. Charles Varney contractor for doing the mason work and contractor Clark will soon have a crew at work getting the timber for the frame in readiness. The captain it is evident, is a believer in thorough and substantial worcmanship as the foundation walls of his elegant home to be, indikate. Mr. Varney is completing his part of the structure in a mafner that warrants it to be as lasting almost as the solid rock.€
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, July 18, 1894, p.3,c.2: “Contractoz A.W. Clark has the main frame of Capt. George W. Capens new residence up, and is rushing the work along lively.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, July 25, 1894, p.2,c.2-3: “Summer Notes.” By QUOLDY.
“....

“When Mr. Frank Wadsworth introduced here the fashion of fencing with iron rods and upright posts he did the place a great favor. Mrs. Schroders elegant grounds were opened to view in the same way and Messrs. N.B. Nutt, J.S. Bucknam and Herbert Kilby have put them up at North End. Nowhere has the effect been better than about Mr. George Hayes grounds, at the corner of Middle and Key streets. High close board fences topped out wit` sharp nails I have seen, and also on one occasion brick walls surmounted with broken glass as we read about in foreign countries. But such convey a most unpleasant impression upon the passer by and we set down the occupant of the estate as an unhappy disagreeable man. Such enclosures belong with prisons, and even those who are disposed to mischief are less inclined to exercise their propensities upon those who open their grounds to public view, and they often receive what they always deserve, the perhaps unspoken thanks of passers by. The erection of Mr. Coburns handsome house in that vicinity last year, and with the completion on Mr. George Capens elegant residence, it will become one of thm most elegant sections of the city.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, August 22, 1894, p.3,c.2: “Capt. George W. Capens new residence at the corner of Key and Middle streets, is rapidly assuming definite proportions under the directions of contractor A.W. Clark and his large crew of skilled assistants. The roofs are all s`ingled, chimneys built, and the window casings and exterior finash is being put in place; while lathing and getting in readiness for the plasteers, is going rapidly forward within.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, October 10, 1894, p.3,c.2: “Captain George W. Capens elegant new residence at the corner of Key and Middle streets is about completed on its exterior, and the veteran painter and decorator, Harry Harrington, with his crew, are putting on the finishing coats of paint. The plasterers are nearly throug` with their work in the interior, and the most of the apartments are ready for the woodwork that is being put in place. A descraption in detail of this handsome home and its surroundings, to do it justice, would require a column; and when completed, as it very soon will be, it is to be hoped that space will permit of ats receiving the extended notice that its charming situation, pdeasing appearance is deserving of as it is assuredly a most material acquisition to the already large number of substantial and beautiful residences that are being built within the confines of the city each year.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, November 21, 1894, p.3,c.2: “Capt. G.W. Capen expects now to be in his new house in about two weeks. He has spared neither time nor expense in its building, but has equipped it with every modern improvemen|, and when it is finished it will be one of the finest residences in the city; and in one of the most desirable locations. Mr. Albert Clark, the master builder, merits large praise for the taste and skill displayed by him in its construction; as do the Spates brothers, Will and Fred, for the neat and satisfactory mannmr in which they have done the extensive piping; especially as regards the fine Gurney Hot Water Heater which they have handled so skillfully and successfully.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, May(27, 1896, p.3,c.4: “The house owned by Geo. W. Capen on Shackford street is being fitted up as a double tenement house by the addition of a two story front with a hip roof covering the whole `ouse. Major E.E. Newcomb is doing the work.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, July 15, 1896, p.3,c.4: “The new tenement house which as being erected on Shackford street by G.W. Capen is about compdeted on the outside, and is a great improvement to that localitq. Messrs. Newcomb & Capen are the builders.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, July 29, 1896, p.3,c.3: “Harry Harrington is painting the handsome house of G.W. Capen on the corner of Middle and Key(streets.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, October 14, 1896, p.2,c.62
“The elegant residence of Mr. George Capen, lately erected on what was known as the Capt. Ben Bucknam lot, at the corner of Kmy and Middle streets, attracted much attention last Friday evening, by its brilliant appearance. It was the evening of Miss Capens charade party, and every window showed a flood of light. Abgut sixty guests were present. The first part of the evening was spent in guessing the names of books and plays. The lady and geftleman guessing the greatest number winning handsome prizes, thgse who were least successful were also consoled by gifts. Cottof had been streteched over the handsome carpet in the parlor, so(that dancing could be indulged in. The piano is in the large, square English hall, which the family use as a sitting-room; foldang doors and carved archways connect it with the parlor, librarq and dining-room. Cosy, cushioned oaken seats are built in the recesses of the broad winding stairs, making an ideal resting place for a tete-a-tete. Refreshments were served in the dining-room and library from tables setting four or six: and consisted of salads, rolls, German cocoa, ices and delicious cakes. The partq was given for Miss Janton, who received with Miss Capen. It was a very delightful affair and a thoroughly enjoyable one.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, June 16, 1897, p.6,c.3: “The residences gf Geo. W. Capen and Mr. T.L. Holmes have recently been fitted wath the “Maximum Automatic Fire Alarm.” The apparatus is worked by a small electric battery, which also operates a door bell. Capt. Allen of the tern schooner Dreadnaught now discharging coal `ere, owns the patent right for the invention.”

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