Historic Talbot home stands empty... for now

Assisted-living facility seeks new residents
By Daniel Dunkle | Mar 09, 2014
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle The Talbot Home has been serving seniors since 1963 on Talbot Avenue. It is now in need of residents.

Rockland — An assisted-living facility that started in Rockland in 1900 finds itself without residents, but its administrator and board of trustees mean to change that.

The Talbot Home, a stately and elegantly decorated Victorian at 73 Talbot Ave., has served as a six-bed home for elderly residents since it was donated by the Talbot family for the purpose in 1963. Before that, the non-profit facility, originally called the Home for Aged Women, was located at 148 North Main St.

The house had been the home of William Talbot and his wife, Pauline Talbot Biggs. It was donated to the organization by their daughters, Joan Talbot Foote and Marion Talbot Lilley.

Up until recently, it served men and women under its roof with three home-cooked meals a day, laundry, housekeeping, medication assistance, activities and help, when needed, with bathing, dressing and other aspects of daily living, according to the home's administrator, Nancy Graham.

The home had six employees, but Graham had to let them go as it lost residents. Now Graham is the last of the employees.

She said the home has been overshadowed by larger assisted-living facilities and nursing homes in the area.

For the next month, she and The Talbot Home's seven-member board of trustees are working to get the word out in the community that the nonprofit has vacancies and wants to continue its mission.

In addition to contacting local media outlets, The Talbot Home will host a Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Afterhours event Wednesday, March 12, from 5 to 7 p.m.

It is also offering a referral fee of $1,000 to anyone bringing a resident to The Talbot Home, $500 upon signing of a contract and $500 following the third month of residency.

It has held "silver tea" events to raise money for its operations.

The home includes a kitchen, common areas like large living rooms, a solarium, an old-fashioned elevator, five bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms and one larger suite.

History of The Talbot Home

Source: The Talbot Home Board of Trustees

David Talbot was born in Rockport in 1859. He worked for his father, a Rockport businessman and then established his own business, a livery stable with a large number of teams used in transporting lime rock.

In 1888, he moved to Omaha, Neb., where he joined his brother-in-law in the ice business. While there, he developed his own successful ice company and was referred to by some as the "Omaha Ice King."

He returned to Rockland for health reasons in 1905, when he and his wife, Cora (Hewitt) Talbot purchased property on what was then Middle Street in Rockland from George L. Knight.

A prominent Rockland citizen, David, was instrumental in improving roads in Rockland to accommodate automobiles, and Middle Street was later renamed Talbot Avenue.

In 1882, Lavinia Thorndike of Camden spoke to a meeting of ladies in Rockland concerning the need for an institution for Rockland’s senior citizens.

The first Home for Aged Women opened Oct. 27, 1900, with Lorinda Borstel as its matron. Dolly Walsh was the first occupant of that home at 148 North Main St. In order to cover operating expenses, a donation tea was held annually. Early records show expenses from Nov. 1, 1900, to April 1, 1902, as $629.

Cora Talbot, and later her daughter-in-law, Pauline, were very involved with the Home for Aged Women. This institution moved to 73 Talbot Ave. shortly after the Talbot house was donated to the association by Joan Talbot Foote and Marion Talbot Lilley (daughters of William and Pauline and granddaughters of David and Cora) on Aug. 15, 1963. The Home for Aged Women was renamed The Talbot Home. Just prior to moving to Talbot Avenue, expenses averaged $1,000 per month. More recently operating expenses averaged $17,000.

Cora Talbot’s sister, Dora Pratt, had two children, Harry and Maude, both teachers at the Good Will School in Hinckley, and both unmarried. It was through their generosity that an endowment fund was established for the maintenance of The Talbot Home.

The "silver tea" fundraisers were held to help with capital improvements.

Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 122 or ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com.

The Talbot Home's Administrator Nancy Graham uses the Victorian building's old-fashioned elevator. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
A room at the historic Talbot Home in Rockland. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
The Talbot Home was donated to be used as an assisted-living facility by Joan Talbot Foote and Marion Talbot Lilley, daughters of William and Pauline Talbot. (Courtesy of: The Talbot Home)
A sculpture at the foot of the stairs. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Inside The Talbot Home (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Comments (5)
Posted by: Wayne Keiderling | Mar 10, 2014 13:56

Nancy Graham is a a excellent person and manager. I would not hesitate to have a loved one or family member live at talbot house.

Posted by: Reade Brower | Mar 10, 2014 10:25

It was beautifully painted by Edward Hopper, too.

Posted by: Reade Brower | Mar 10, 2014 10:24

Posted by: Martha Seavey Boynton | Mar 09, 2014 15:41

My Aunt Mabel Seavey lived there for many years; I have so many memories of visit this home.

Posted by: Robert Merrill | Mar 09, 2014 12:52

I have had a number of patients who have lived here quite comfortably over the years. I would encourage anyone with an elderly relative who needs assistance to look at the Talbot Home when comparing Assisted Living choices.

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