Camden's summer cottages
Before all the lovely summer cottages were built in Camden and Rockport, many people visited here from the large cities to get out of the traffic and hot weather.
People came from Bangor because it was always warmer there in the summer than Camden. Our town, being on the coast had a nice sea breeze to cool the hot weather.
There were a few hotels like the Mountain View House, Bay View House, Ocean House, Whitehall Inn, Green gables, etc. Also there were rooming houses or in today’s terminology “Bed & Breakfasts.” The Hosmer house on the corner of Harbor Road and High Street was one popular one.
Then people began to build the lovely summer "cottages” that were hardly in our minds cottages, but large beautiful homes to use in the summer. Many local people found employment, because in those day and up into the 1950s the summer homes had maids, laundresses, gardeners, chauffeurs, cooks, waitresses and nannies. There are many of these “summer cottages” in different parts of town.
In this article, I shall begin with the vicinity of upper Chestnut Street and Bay View Street. Much of the property belonged to one of the first settlers, the Ogiers. Peter Ogier, a French Huguenot, fled to London, England, to avoid persecution. He sent his son Abraham to Quebec, Canada, to start a branch of his London business. Somehow, Abraham ended up in Camden in 1773. According to Fales survey map, it included Dillingham’s Point, the upper portion of Bay View Street and Chestnut Street to the Lily Pond (known then as Neck Pond). Abraham, and his sons Lewis and Abraham became prominent and influential citizens of our community. Most of the property that I am writing about today, belonged to the Ogiers, and has been divided and sold many times.
Mr. Alfred Judson of New York had bought quite a few acres, and sub-divided much of it. He had built a large cottage between Chestnut and Bay View Street called “Stonyhurst” from the Chestnut Street entrance. That beautiful place burned probably 20 some years ago. The caretaker’s stone house on the property has recently been updated.
One of these cottages, on the Judson property, was built by Cyrus Brown for William Bordon. He was born in Bordon, Indiana, had degrees in both law and mining, so went to Colorado during the gold-silver-lead-rush days and laid out the city of Leadville. Mr. Bordon’s friends told him about Camden, so he had the lovely home built about 1903 and returned, spending summers here with his family. Today, it is the beautiful estate known as Fox Hill that they want to use for a drug abuse and addiction rehab. This home has many other nice summer places surrounding it and Bay View Street is not conducive to all the traffic on that winding road. The owners, for a miles around, pay high taxes to the town to live in that area zoned for residential only, and some are second and third generations of the original families.
“Undercliff” is a large cottage (entrance from upper Bay View Street) and was once on the Judson estate. When built in the early 1900s it had five fireplaces, three baths, nine chambers, steam heat, wrap around porch and electric lights. I have been told there was also a “spring” dance floor. The Jack Proctor family lived there, when I was a teenager.
“Pinecrest” is located on Chestnut Street between Cedar Street and Chestnut Hill. It was owned by Col. M. M. Parker of Washington, D.C., when built. When I lived across the road in the late 1930s and 40s, it was owned by the Crimmins family. More recently it was owned by the Rogers family. It is a lovely home, with a very large front hall. Its garage used to be on Chestnut Hill, but is now a home.
Further up Chestnut Street is the “Lodge” owned by Phil and Lynn Tietz Wood. It was part of the 42-acre property owned by William F. and Isabella Morse Hooper, of Fall River, Mass. Their summer home was called “Belvedere” and later owned by their son, Parker Morse Hooper, who called the estate, “Hill Acres.” It was a beautiful three-story summer home with a large porch around most of it. The marine paintings that hang in the “Reading Room” of Camden Public Library were in this home on the walls as you went up the open stairway to the top floor. Mr. Hooper donated them to the library. Unfortunately, this house was torched, after the property had been purchased for “Greenfield “development.
The next cottage up was “Blythewood’ built for Joseph Snell of Boston, Mass. In the 1940s May Sexton lived there. It has been sold a few times since 1904 and remodeled to update it.
The red brick cottage above was once called the “Red Cottage” when Mrs. E.J. Parker of Quincy, Ill., owned it. It is now called “Ogier Farm” and presently owned by Charles Packard. It was built by Abraham Ogier (son of Abraham) in 1830. It was part of that large tract of land (#33 on the Fales Survey map) owned by the first Abraham Ogier.
Another summer cottage in that area is” Portlow” and it was the only house on Penobscot Avenue in the 1940s. It was owned by W. J. Curtis, of Summit, N.J., in early 1900s. One owner around the mid-1900s had a very nice Japanese restaurant there.
This is only a small group of summer cottages, as others were on High Street, Melvin Heights, Bay View Street, Dillingham’s Point, Beauchamp Point and Thorndike Park. There will be more about them in other articles.
Barbars Dyer is Camden's official town historian. While she says she is retired from newspaper writing, she continues to submit "just one more" article for publication.