Dresden’s Bowman House is planning an open day on June 4
Celebrate the start of summer at Historic New England’s annual Open House at 1762 Bowman House on Saturday, June 4. Free guided tours will be offered every hour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the last tour departing at 3 p.m.
All visitors must follow current COVID-19 guidelines and follow social distancing rules.
Bowman House is located at 22 Bowman Lane in Dresden.
Bowman House is a rare survivor of 18th century elegance on the Kennebec River. Built in 1762 for barrister Jonathan Bowman, the Georgian-style mansion was built by Gershom Flagg, the same architect who built Pownalborough Courthouse in 1761 nearby. Both were funded by the Kennebec Proprietors, a group of Boston investors, to serve what they thought would become a regional business and legal center.
Jonathan Bowman was sent to Pownalborough by his uncle, Thomas Hancock, Boston’s wealthiest merchant before the Revolutionary War and a member of the Kennebec proprietors. Bowman was appointed to several legal posts, becoming a judge in 1772. He supplemented his income from legal work with investments in the booming timber and shipping business.
After Bowman’s death, the house was bought by James Carney, a local man who became a successful blacksmith serving farmers and Pownalborough’s bustling seafront. He also built a 181 ton ship at the site. Carney and his wife Joanna raised twelve children in the home and were leaders in their community’s charitable efforts. In the 1870s, near the end of Maine’s ice cream boom, Bowman House became the offices of the Lincoln Ice Company, which owned it until 1911.
After decades of ownership by historic curators, Bowman House was purchased in 1965 by artist, entrepreneur and historic curator William Waters and his partner Cyrus Pinkham. After donating the house to Historic New England in 1971, Waters spent 51 years restoring the interiors and filling the house with Bowman pieces and 18th-century artifacts and furniture.
The grounds of Bowman House are open daily from dawn to dusk. All visitors must follow the posted rules. For more information on Bowman House, visit HistoricNewEngland.org or call (207) 882-7169.
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