Built in 1844 for prominent lawyer, editor and businessman Joseph Williamson by the renowned Maine architect Calvin Ryder. In 1877 Williamson published a History of Belfast covering from the earliest of time to 1875 in a 956-page volume, and left a second volume ready for publication bringing the History of Belfast down to the end of the 19th century.

It is rumored that the designs of the architect may have been influenced by Sir Christopher Wren, the famous English architect who was born in 1631 and died in 1723.  Its strong resemblance to Mt. Vernon and Arlington, the home of General Robert E. Lee (which it is known he did design) support this theory. The large pillars in front resemble Arlington, and the long ell, with the porches on either side, Mt. Vernon.

The property has been owned by prominent families from Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Chicago and used both as a “summer cottage” as well as a year round residence.

Originally built by men with knowledge of handling huge timbers, equal to those used in shipbuilding with rafters in the attic resembling trees that have been squared off by hand. When completed in 1845, it was magnificent for the day.  The exterior has a neo-classical style that was very popular during the Greek revival period. This design was carried throughout the inside of the house as well where the finest of materials were used in this superbly constructed year-round residence.

In 1920 a major effort to expand and modernize the residence was undertaken, expanding the North and South wings, adding modern plumbing conveniences and re-designing the porte-cochere with an eye toward maintaining architectural integrity.

Today the property has been renovated to include safe and secure conveniences while ensuring the historic nature of the Nationally Registered district are maintained.

Read more:    
The architect Calvin Ryder (PDF) Joseph Williamson Jr. (PDF)
Belfast History (PDF) 1875 Historical highlights (PDF)
News Article, Bangor Daily, 1936 (PDF) 1921 Advertisement (PDF)
Williamson House Belfat


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