Glimpses. 16 Lincoln Street

Built in 1855 for Rufus D Bean

A transitional Greek Revival-Italianate in the Woodfords Corner neighborhood.

The windows reach out and command your attention. From the extra-tall first-floor units, a Greek Revival feature, to the Italianate arched window in the garret, this house makes a bold statement.

That statement would have been, perhaps, even bolder when Rufus Dummer Bean built the house after purchasing the land from Chandler Rackleff in December of 1854. Bean paid $450 for an acre of land encompassing everything from what is now Deering Avenue to the property line in front of our subject and from Lincoln to Coyle Streets.

Section of the Chace Cumberland County map of 1857. Library of Congress

Rufus was born to Dummer and Nabby Bean in 1824. Dummer was a merchant with a shop and house on Middle Street. Rufus seems to have gravitated to numbers as he was the long-time clerk/bookkeeper for the Portland Company. He married Nancy Blake in 1851. They had 4 children, 2 daughters and 2 sons.

In 1860 Rufus sold our subject to a merchant named William Southard.

That bay seems a bit out of place. The bird’s eye view of Deering from 1886 indicates that is is not original.

William Southard was born into a prominent Richmond family in 1820. He married Lydia Carver of Gardiner in 1844. They had 5 sons and 2 daughters. William was the first merchant to open on the newly constructed Commercial Street. He was involved in various business ventures as well as Deering town offices. The Southards sold 16 Lincoln Street in 1864.

Clipping from the Portland Daily Press. May 5, 1865.

The purchaser of 16 Lincoln Street in 1864 was the wife of an attorney both of whom were from Norridgewock Maine named Harriet and Horatio Wheeler. They had married in 1850 when he was 31 and she 24. Horatio had graduated from Bowdoin College in 1844. They had 4 children. When Harriet purchased the house, they were living in Evansville Indiana but, by 1870, they were living in our subject and Horatio had moved into the mercantile trade. On January 20 of 1888, Horatio died of dysentery in San Diego California. He was the president of the Portland and Forest Avenue Horse Railroad at the time of his death. Harriet sold our subject in 1893 at which time she gave her residence as Worcester MA. The purchaser was a produce merchant named Thomas Harris.

Clipping from the bird’s eye view of Deering of 1886.

Thomas & Mary Jane Harris were born in Brunswick and Bath respectively in 1824. They married in 1859. Thomas farmed for a decade or so before moving into the wholesale produce business during the Civil War. They were still in Brunswick in 1880. A newspaper article from July of 1881 noted their barn, located “on the Brunswick side of the New Meadows River”, had been struck by lightening and sustained minor damage. A brief note in the Feb 24 1888 edition of the Portland Evening Express noted that Thomas was a resident of Portland by that time. He ran his business out of the building that stood on the corner of Commercial & Market Streets where Starbucks is now located.
These first floor windows are some of the tallest I have encountered. It is interesting that the sills are granite while the lintels are brownstone. The other windows on the house have brownstone for both sills and lintels but these sills carry a due to having to span the basement window openings. I’m not sure brownstone has that capability. That broken basement window is worrying. It allows snow and water and, more problematic, vermin to enter. The neighbors inform me the property is currently unoccupied making the vermin risk much greater.

Thomas Harris was active in local politics as well as serving as vice-president of the short-lived Deering Board of Trade. He was a vocal supporter of annexation with Portland in 1898. He died on May 9 of 1914. In 1919 Mary and her surviving children sold 16 Lincoln Street to Benjamin F Smith. One month later, he transferred it to Ida May Smith who was his daughter-in-law. She and her husband Elmer lived on Bramhall Street. Ida sold the property in 1924.

16 Lincoln Street in 1924. Maine Memory Network

In 1924, Dr Clinton N & Florence R Peters purchased 18 Lincoln from Ida Smith. Clinton was born in Deering in 1888. Florence was born in Portland in 1896. They married in 1916 and she passed away in 1932. Clinton remarried in 1933 taking Alice Fortier as his wife. Clinton had no children with either wife.

Clinton Peters and his Pointer ‘Dyme’ in
the May 17th 1937 Portland Press Herald.

In 1969, Clinton & Alice Peters sold our subject to Trinity Episcopal Church. Trinity sits at the foot of Lincoln Street on Forest Avenue. The deed had 2 codicils:

  1. Any proceeds from the property had to be used for charitable purposes and noted as in memorial of Clinton’s mother, Calista.
  2. The building could not be demolished as long as Alice and Clinton were alive. Clinton died in 1982 and Alice in 1985

In 1978,  Trinity Church sold 18 Lincoln Street to a non-profit called Maine Resource Development who are the current owners.

16 Lincoln Street on the 1914 Richards Atlas. Portland Public Library Digital Commons

16 Lincoln Street is listed as a group home. The condition is good.

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2 thoughts on “Glimpses. 16 Lincoln Street

  1. Ruth Neagle

    So interesting. My Wyman grandparents and great-grandparent lived around the corner at 522 Deering Ave. The architecture is not nearly as interesting as 16 Lincoln, but if you ever have time I’d be interested in the home’s history. Sadly it is now split up into 3 or 4 apartment units. I remember the house as dark and imposing but with wonderful peonies.

    Thanks Ruth Wyman Neagle

    Liked by 1 person


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