We are proud to announce that the
William M. Shaw House (Greenville Inn)
is officially listed on National Register of Historic Places!
We are thrilled that this magnificent home is being recognized for the masterpiece it is!
The first step in the three year process, was to contact Christi A. Mitchell, an architectural historian. Christi did extensive research before visiting us, and after touring the mansion and carriage house, she felt this was truly a property worth recognizing on the National Register. Christi also met with the Candy Canders Russell, the Executive Director of the Moosehead Historical Society and Museums.
Christi prepared the extensive form with documentation showing the history and significance of the home. She presented the form to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, who then nominated the William M. Shaw Residence to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The form that was submitted is actually 26 pages long, so I have just quoted some of the text which I thought may be of interest.
This is the narrative summary written and submitted by the architectural historian, Christi A. Mitchell:
“Located on a rise overlooking Moosehead Lake and the town of Greenville, Maine is the former home of William M. Shaw. This elaborate, two-and-a-half story, wood-frame Queen Anne style house was built for one of Greenville’s most prosperous nineteenth century residents at the height of his success; this is reflected in the building’s rich and ornate embellishments.
The house features sweeping porches, undulating elevations of bay windows, a compound roof, a porte-cochère, and a wide variety of shingles, brackets, and panels on the exterior, and is known for the exquisite exotic woods on this handsomely appropriated interior.
The design of this local landmark benefited from the work of two of the states most prolific and important architects: E. E. Lewis of Gardiner designed the house in 1890 and the Bangor architect Wilfred E. Mansur subsequently altered the house and attached carriage house in 1905.”
The William M. Shaw Residence met two criteria, which made it eligible to be listed on the
National Register of Historic Places:
- Property is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past:
Christy A. Mitchell wrote:
“William M. Shaw was a timber man, businessman, entrepreneur and a member of one of the town’s most important and influential families. The opulent home that he had erected starting circa 1890 reflects the financial success of Shaw and his family. However, his significance in Greenville extends beyond his own personal fortunes.
From his house on the hill overlooking Moosehead Lake Shaw could see the office building, store, saw mill, and lumber yard associated with the M. G. Shaw Lumber Company he owned with his father and two brothers. He could watch the venerable steamship Katahdin and her predecessors, owned by the family, transport passengers from Greenville to resorts on the lake or haul log rafts south from the northern forests. Across the lake he could watch the sun set over Big Squaw Mountain, in Big Squaw, the township the company owned and over which he managed the timberland.
He could see the telephone poles, the electric poles and the hydrants that represented the services he and his brothers furnished for the town. And within his home he was surrounded by the quarter sawn oak, white oak, mahogany, and pecan woods that he had access to as an exporter of lumber.
The Shaw family had a significant impact on Greenville through the businesses they grew, the jobs they created, the services they developed and local philanthropy.”
Christy A. Mitchell went on to say:
“In addition to owning the lumber mill in Greenville, they established and ran the steamboat company, and the bank.
Their holdings included the Second Roach Farm and the Lily Bay House located farther north on the lake, and which supplied fresh vegetables and provisions for the lumber camps, provided accommodations for men entering or leaving the woods and lodged the lumber horses when they were not being used over the summer. In 1893 they built the large and still extant Shaw Block, designed by Wilfred E. Mansur, to house commercial space, a fraternal lodge, a theatre and offices.”
- Property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components lack individual distinction:
Christy A. Mitchell wrote:
“The William M. Shaw residence is an excellent example of a Queen Anne style house from c. 1890. The exterior of the house retains its overall integrity of design, materials, workmanship, setting location, association and feeling from its periods of initial construction and the sympathetic alterations made in 1905. The only significant modern alterations are the addition of the dining room on the north side, and the conversion of the carriage house to guest quarters.
Many of the character defining features of Queen Anne architecture are utilized on the house, including patterned shingles, bay windows, front facing gable, full width porch, complicated asymmetrical massing, undulating and textured wall surfaces and brackets.
By the use of the Roman Doric columns, the dentils and decorative panels this building can be further categorized as an example of the “Free Classic” sub-type, characteristics that were shared with the contemporaneous Colonial Revival style.
The interior of the house contains a mixture of Edwardian, Victorian, classical and Arts-and Crafts style details and is an excellent example of turn-of-the-century craftsmanship and design.
Some of the hallmarks of the era include stain glass and art glass windows, coffer-ed ceilings, finely detailed fireplaces surround with imported tile, a landing niche, and original Lincrista wallpaper.
In addition, the house has numerous original lighting fixtures,
many of which were designed for both gas and electricity, an original butler’s pantry with dumbwaiter and slate sink, a rib-cage style needle shower in a marble enclosure, and early internal telephone.”
We would like to officially thank Christi A. Mitchell, Candy Canders Russell, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, National Park Service, and the U.S. Department of Interior for making this recognition possible. We appreciate all the time and effort spent on projects such as this. We are proud to be keepers of such a historic home.
The William M. Shaw House is presently run as a bed and breakfast and restaurant known as the Greenville Inn at Moosehead Lake. The inn is not open to the public for tours, but we gladly welcome guests of the inn to enjoy this historic treasure!