Victoria Mansion, Portland.

11 May

Regular visitors to my Blog will know of our interest in preserved old buildings. We could not leave the delighful City of Portland, Maine without visiting the Morse-Libby Mansion House , otherwise known as Victoria Mansion.

Using great wealth from the Morse family Hotel business in New Orleans, the house was created from scratch in 1860 in an Italianate style. Not symmetrical and having all mod cons for the time. Coal fired central heating, flush toilets and beautifully decorated by craftsmen of the highest order. Later sold to an equally wealthy family named  Libby, this larger family of the two put it to great use.

Our wonderful guide (shown here below) showed her four years of experience during her tour. American chestnut was used in places but is no longer available due to blight in that timber. The Morse family was pro-United America during the civil war when they could not gain access to their house from New Orleans, even to escape the yellow fever which was rife at the time down South.

Morse was said to have watched as Portland burned in a great fire. A lot of the brick buildings which can be seen now were as a result in safety laws governing tightly packed streets of predominantly timber buildings.

An excellent way of spending a few hours looking back on American history and the wealth creation of the 1800s.

Despite beginning some seven years younger than Chateau Dinkum, the mansion has undergone a great deal of refurbishment and repair. Thanks goodness our refurbishment did not include such exotics as Parisian curtain accessories, delicately inlaid carpentry and vintage carpets. Not to mention hand painted walls in the Trompe L’oeil style. Shadowed artwork fooling you into seeing 3 D images. Expensive !

The local architecture of Portland is very impressive. Within a very short walk from the Victoria Mansion there is a huge varition in styles. From classic large Victorian era grand town houses to colourful rows of more down to earth terraces. Less impressive is the view of my famous photo finger hovering above the fire hiuse museum (above right)


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