Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

On the Market: A 1793 House in Maine With Hand-Painted Murals, via Cheap Old Houses

Search

On the Market: A 1793 House in Maine With Hand-Painted Murals, via Cheap Old Houses

May 27, 2022

The @cheapoldhouses Instagram feed has become something of the go-to for a new generation of real estate scrollers—some 1.9 million of them—who browse listings in their spare time (a phenomenon the New York Times calls Zillow surfing). Cheap Old Houses’ listings tend toward diamond-in-the-rough dwellings, tumble-downs with good bones, historic gems and peculiars hidden behind disuse, disrepair, and way-below-market price tags.

This week one listing in particular caught my eye as it made the rounds on my feed: a 1793 house in Limerick, Maine, filled with lush, verdant, hand-painted murals in the traditional style of New England folk artist Rufus Porter.

Take a look.

Photography via Keller Williams.

the circa \1793 house is located in the maine town of limerick and was original 9
Above: The circa-1793 house is located in the Maine town of Limerick and was originally built by a General McDonald; it “boasts nine fireplaces, eight bedrooms, and six bathrooms,” according to the listing.
later, the general&#8\2\17;s son, moses (who &#8\2\20;went on to hold e 10
Above: Later, the general’s son, Moses (who “went on to hold elected Maine office in the House of Representatives, Senate, and Speaker of the House”) commissioned a painter to create full-wall murals depicting Limerick’s hilly terrain and nearby Casco Bay, “with the family tree weaving up the front staircase.”
a grand room with pastoral murals and painted wide plank floors. &#8\2\20;t 11
Above: A grand room with pastoral murals and painted wide-plank floors. “The home’s foundation was built of granite stones hauled by horses from Augusta,” the listing notes. “Locally hewn posts and beams support the barn and the main structure with enormous brick arches in the basement.” The antique windows still bear “the original seeds and waves from authentically blown glass of the late 1700s.”
the murals bear a resemblance to the work of folk artist (and the founding publ 12
Above: The murals bear a resemblance to the work of folk artist (and the founding publisher, writer, and editor of Scientific American) Rufus Porter, who was born in 1792, one year before the house was built, and began his life painting pastoral murals of the farms around Bridgeport, Maine, and Portland seascapes. (You can see more of Porter’s work via the Rufus Porter Museum of Art and Ingenuity in Bridgeton.)
porter&#8\2\17;s nephew, jonathan d. poor, eventually joined him in his mur 13
Above: Porter’s nephew, Jonathan D. Poor, eventually joined him in his mural making, though it’s unclear whether the murals in the house are by either of the men or by a lookalike painter. “Among the Porter School muralists, Poor was the most prolific, especially in the years 1830-40,” according to Maine: An Encyclopedia. “Although Porter and Poor were undoubtedly responsible for many of the wall murals in Maine, it is also certain that other local artists were capable of producing similar treatments.”
the house also features original details, like doors and hardware. 14
Above: The house also features original details, like doors and hardware.
a look into a bedroom with one of nine fireplaces. 15
Above: A look into a bedroom with one of nine fireplaces.
and a smaller painting between two windows. 16
Above: And a smaller painting between two windows.
the third floor is a grand arched ceiling ballroom. more muted landscapes & 17
Above: The third floor is a grand arched-ceiling ballroom. More muted landscapes “encircle the glorious compass rose painted into the floor,” according to the listing, “undoubtedly the host of a multitude of weddings, meetings, and countless gatherings over the last 229 years.”

The house features a barn as well, with original timbers. And the listing price? $450,000, notably low in Maine’s notoriously wild and fast-paced real estate scene. We only hope the house is rescued by someone who will preserve it—and its murals.

For much more, take a look at the listing via Keller Williams.

You need to login or register to view and manage your bookmarks.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0