Glimpses. 48 Park Street

Built by Charles P Ingraham in 1849

Charles Porter Ingraham was born in Portland in 1813. His father was Joseph Holt Ingraham. Joseph was a silversmith and prominent citizen in the Federal period. His mother, Ann Tate Ingraham, was the granddaughter of the last royal mast agent prior to the Revolution, George Tate.

Bookplate for Joseph H Ingraham’s dictionary. Ingraham engraved the bookplate himself. Dictionary is in the possession of the Tate House Museum. Image from Maine Memory Network.

Joseph is notable in Portland history for laying out and selling the first lots on State Street and for building his Federal-style home on the lower end of that street. We will spend more time on Joseph and Ann in a later post.

Charles partnered with Henry Stover in the mercantile exchange business after Joseph’s death in 1844. Henry’s sister, Elizabeth, was Charles’ wife. In 1856 Charles is listed as a merchant on Commercial Wharf and living at 48 Park. Henry Stover is listed in 1856 as owning the Portland flagged schooner ‘Grandilla’ but not residing in the city. The US Register for the first half of 1860 includes mention of the  Grandilla having sunk in a storm off Delaware on March 22nd of that year. The vessel was listed as built in Harpswell in 1855. The Stover family was from Harpswell and Charles Ingraham was buried in the Stover Cemetery in that town.

By 1873, Charles was heavily invested in trading. Beckett lists him working on Commercial Wharf and living on Park Street. What has changed is he is now listed as the owner of 8 vessels.

The house Charles built for himself and Elizabeth is a 2 story block of mostly greek design, The heavy brick pilasters and frieze playing that role. The emphasis is on verticality. The lovely arched window in the east gable is more federal in nature. It must make that space just radiant in the morning light. I note the 1921 tax information says the third floor is ‘unfinished’. Seems like an awfully grand window for unfinished space.

Charles Ingraham died on February 18, 1891. As noted above, he was buried in his wife’s family graveyard in Harpswell. Elizabeth inherited the property at this time. On her passing on February 4, 1896, the property passed to her nephews Norton & Daniel Stover and Albion & Isaac Dunning. They were all residents of Harpswell.

The 1924 tax data shows the owner as a Mary A Roemer. Mary was listed in the 1920 census as having been born in 1863 and that she was a widow. Her husband, Gustave, is noted on the deed of 1903 when 48 Park Street was purchased but I find no record of him otherwise. The 1930 census says Mary’s older sister Clara was living with her. Mary seems to have had financial difficulties in the late ’30s. The city filed liens for unpaid taxes in 1937 & 38. This no doubt was a factor in her selling in November of 1938. Mary then disappears from history. The home’s path to 2017 would be bumpy with more tax liens and a foreclosure thrown in for fun. Currently, the property is listed as a 4 unit rental.


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