Preserving the Antiquities

Not everything was built to be thrown away.

The windows to the future may rely on the past.

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2 Responses to Preserving the Antiquities

  1. Loosehead Prop says:

    Glass, the symbol of wealth. It lets light in, but it lets heat out. The wealthy can easily replace the heat with the labor of their servants, but the poor can’t. Some glassmaker will surely correct me, but it was difficult until modern industrial techniques permitted to make large sheets of glass without obvious imperfections. Hence an entry like this could only belong to the wealthy, never mind the quality of the woodwork, due to the large half-moon above and the substantial side windows. The ornamentation carved from wood, while graceful in this house, is far more common in surviving colonial houses than one might imagine, woodworking and finish carpentry being a common trade at that time.

    These days most of us can easily afford the glass. Now we can no longer afford the woodworking.

    • Captain Nickels built this magnificent house in 1807, at the peak of the maritime shipping era. Jefferson’s embargo and then the War of 1812 essentially ruined Nickels, who died in 1815. The house was auctioned off in 1818 and was an inn and tavern until bought and restored by a Sortwell (Cambridge, MA) in 1899.

      The “looking back” I had in mind was the analysis of economic booms and busts. It’s no new thing, if one cares to examine the relics. I also considered the influence the Sortwell family in Wiscasset, as benefactors of town institutions like the library. No Carnegie grant needed if you have Sortwells across the street.

      I’m not sure what it all means for ‘po fokes like us in the “here and now.” I guess you’d better move along to your own little bathroom woodworking project.

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