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Deer Isle
Originally published in Compass, July 31, 2014
Four historic Dunham’s Point houses on Deer Isle house tour

The White House of Sunset, Maine

The White House, built in 1924, sits on land that once housed an active silver mine. The property was purchased by Annie Chesney from the Deer Isle Mines Company and is one of four houses the Deer Isle-Stonington Society will view during it house tour on August 15, 2014.

Photo courtesy of Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society

The Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society invites the public to its annual house tour, this year with a focus on Dunham’s Point in Sunset on Deer Isle. The tour will be held Friday, August 15, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the historical society and at The Periwinkle in Deer Isle village.

Four houses are out on Dunham’s Point, which features a cluster of summer cottages, some now winterized for year-round use.

The Brace cottage, owned by Brenda Gilchrist, was designed by Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, a nephew of the poet. The 1902 shingled Craftsman-style cottage included innovative, modern features, among them the large living room with a fireplace at one end. John Steinbeck visited the house in 1960 and described his experience in Travels with Charley.

Miss Sheppard’s House, owned by Jeffrey and Anne Wakelin, is a shingled cottage, also built in 1902. The total cost of the project was $975. Miss Sheppard summered on the point with her chauffeur, gardener and cook until her death in 1966.

The White House was built in 1924 and is a large classic saltbox design. It sits on land purchased by Annie Chesney from the Deer Isle Mines Company; there was once an active silver mine on the property. The other two cottages on the property were originally the dormitory and office for the mine. The house is decorated with floral murals by Cora, the wife of Alan Chesney, Annie’s son. The walls of an upstairs bathroom are adorned with paintings of Alice in Wonderland.

Spruce Ledge was built in 1898 by Mace Shepard Southworth and his brother-in-law, Ira Remsen. Its style is of a late 19th century New England farmhouse, modified somewhat to meet the needs of summer rusticators. According to one of the current owners, the upstairs “is like a maze, and I still get lost.”

Inland from Dunham’s Point is the fifth house, Edgewood Farm, built in 1798 with a second floor added in the 1920s by Fred Sylvester. Seven bedrooms were added to the building so it could serve as a rooming house for summer boarders, with meals supplied. The current owners are Loring Kydd, Fred’s grandson, and his wife Claudette.

Also on the tour is the Salome Sellers House, the headquarters of the Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society. It was built in 1830 by Joseph Sellers for his bride, Salome. She was born in 1800 and lived into the 20th century, dying at the age of 108, the oldest woman in Maine. The house was acquired by the society and restored in 1961 and is furnished with many of Salome’s belongings. Other furnishings are from Island homes of the same period.

Proceeds from the house tour will benefit the society. Its exhibits and archives are open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. The archives remain open in the winter on Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 348-6400 or visit