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House 1 on the tour was the Parker House on South Street, the oldest house on the tour, built in either 1812 or 1816.
House 8 on the tour was Blueberry Hill on the Morgan Bay Road in East Blue Hill, built in 1932 and 1938. The New England style house has expansive, grassy yards and a waterfront view to Mount Desert.
House 5 on the tour was Sculpin Point on Sculpin Point Road, built in 1948. A few modern amenities, such as the flat screen sitting under an encased model ship, reminded the touring public that time has passed since the house was built.
by Gigi DeJoy
On Thursday, July 26, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., 10 different historical houses in the Blue Hill area were open for the public to explore and admire. This event, the 2012 Blue Hill House Tour, was a joint fundraiser put on by the Blue Hill Historical Society and the Jonathan Fisher House.
Eight of the houses on the tour were private homes, while two—the Holt House and the Jonathan Fisher House—were local museums. They ranged in age from 65 to over 200 years old and were designed in a variety of different styles, but all were nostalgic and stately.
Proceeds from the sale of tickets, went to BHHS and the Jonathan Fisher House. Jan Crofoot, a member of the BHHS who was on the House Tour Committee, said that the historical society’s portion of the revenue would go toward maintenance and improvements for the Holt House.
The tickets themselves were brochures with information on each of the houses on the tour and a map with their locations highlighted. The houses were numbered 1 through 10, with those digits on the front of the brochure. At least three different volunteers were stationed at each house.
After the tour was over, Crofoot and her fellow committee member Jan Snow said they were extremely happy with how the day had gone. “The weather has been perfect … people have been very enthusiastic,” Crofoot said. Snow added, “We have had people come in and say they have just never seen anything like this.”
House number 1 on the tour was the Parker House, located on South Street in Blue Hill. It was the oldest house on the tour, having been built either in 1812 or 1816 by Robert Parker, son-in-law of one of Blue Hill’s founders. It was originally built in the Federal style, as were most New England homes built during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but was renovated in the Colonial Revival style in 1900.
The house has consistently remained in the possession of relatives of the original family, at one point being owned by a grandson of Jonathan Fisher. Because of these ancestral connections, said Nancy Sprague, the volunteer tour guide stationed there, “certain things are original to the house, which is really neat.” It is currently being restored by owner John Bates, the great-grandson of the couple who renovated it in 1900. “We’re trying to make an old house move into the 21st century,” he said.
Another house on the tour that has stayed in the family was Sculpin Point, off the East Blue Hill Road. Built in 1948 in the New England style for Mr. and Mrs. Henry Becton, Sr., the Becton family still owns the large house. Its architect, Cecil I. Wylde, was notably an Olympic gold medalist. Sitting right on the water, Sculpin Point has sprawling gardens and a clear view of Blue Hill Bay.
Inside, the house is a winding series of small rooms filled with a mix of well-preserved historical artifacts and modern day amenities. On the top floor, seven bedrooms and six bathrooms run into each other like a maze, with the occasional closet door revealing a hidden staircase instead of the expected bathroom. Oil portraits in the dining room, a large model ship in the living room, canopy beds in the small children’s rooms and a large pool and pool house give the home, which otherwise feels quite like a 1940s’ family summer cottage, an air of resplendence.
If Sculpin Point could make one feel like Tom or Daisy Buchanan on a summer vacation, Blueberry Hill was almost guaranteed to make one identify a little more with Eliza Doolittle, unless one’s job title happened to begin with “chief executive” or “muse.” Located on the Morgan Bay Road in East Blue Hill, Blueberry Hill was built in 1932/1938 in the New England style by Rolf Bauhan, a distinguished Princeton architect. Bauhan also designed Blueberry Hill’s “playhouse,” a building set right on the water beside a long dock that was featured in Architectural Forum in 1937.
An interminable driveway took visitors past tennis courts and other smaller buildings, arriving finally at the expansive main building with breathtaking views of Mt. Desert, Morgan Bay, and the back shore of Newbury Neck. Many rooms in the house were roped off, but those that were open revealed an art collection, numerous antiques and bathrooms with their own waiting rooms.
A brief walk across some of the property’s 80 acres took visitors down to the playhouse by the water, which had a wing just for changing rooms and an exterior wall that was completely windows, which could be slid down and tucked away in the floor should one feel like opening up the playhouse to the ocean. John Dimier, brother-in-law of the current owner, said, “It’s unique.”
The successful tour will not be an annual event, said Crofoot, because the BHHS does not want to conflict with other events such as the Blue Hill Garden Club’s garden tour. However, it is something they will likely repeat at some point.