History Saved 6: Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell House in Hallowell, Maine

Picture of Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell in Hallowell, Maine 1

Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell in Hallowell, Maine

We have been following the long saga of the Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell house in Hallowell, Maine for quite some time. However, we had forgotten about it until we recently found ourselves in Hallowell and could see the top of the mansard roof as we drove by. Of course, we stopped and took these pictures.

We first became aware of this long neglected house soon after the town of Hallowell acquired the property–probably for unpaid property taxes–in 2005. It was auctioned off and the new owner, David Kingsley, bought the house in 2008 and began a multi-year restoration process.

Here is an excerpt from a story in Kennebec Journal that describes the features of the Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell house:

Historians believe the structure was originally built in the Greek Revival style, featuring columns supporting a triangular gable known as a pediment. Think “Parthenon.”

In 1875, Bodwell “victorianized” his mansion, adding a mansard roof with dormers and a grand three-story tower topped with a mansarded cupola. Think “Addams Family.”

Today, the Bodwell House, as it is known, is regarded as one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in the state.

The makeover from one architectural style to another was swift.

The June 5, 1875, edition of this newspaper reported that “J.R. Bodwell, Esq., has commenced re-modelling his dwelling house on Middle Street.”

Seven weeks later, in the July 27 issue, the paper reported that the work had concluded.

The transformation of the house has been remarkable. Check out this family history from Bodwell descendants of Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell that also has a picture of the house pre-restoration. Second Empire Victorians might be our favorite architectural style.

Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, David Kingsley has been unable to complete the full restoration of the home. Much of the exterior work appears to be done, but the interior has been gutted to the studs.

The former home of Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell could be yours for $427,000. From the listing description:

The Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell house with original mantles surround six fireplaces. Major renovations completed. Great opportunity to finish this 6 BR 5 bath B&B to your specifications. Three floors of living space with over 5000 sq. ft. POSSIBLE OWNER FINANCE

Any takers?

Picture of Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell in Hallowell, Maine 2

Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell in Hallowell, Maine

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