The Captain Lord Mansion before Charles Clark’s 1898 Renovations
It appears that Daniel moved from Kennebunkport to Malden, Massachusetts sometime between 1840 and 1850. Then, his sister Susan (Lord) and her husband Peter Clark became owners of record and resided in the home for some period of time in the mid 1800’s. As far as can be discerned from diaries available to me, they made no structural changes to the building. However, it was their son Charles P. Clark who would make the most dramatic and final changes to the “Mansion”.
Charles P. Clark was a wealthy industrialist and railroad magnate. As president of the New York – New Haven Railroad, he could afford two homes. His primary residence in the late 1800’s was a large Victorian brownstone at 222 Orange Ave., New Haven, CT. However, Charles inherited the “Mansion” from his parents, Susan (Lord) and Peter Clark. As was the fashion in upscale resorts for the wealthy in such places as Newport RI, Bar Harbor, and Kennebunkport, Charles occupied his “summer cottage” for only eight to ten weeks each season.
In 1898 Charles funded extensive renovations to the “Mansion”. The Friday, April 15, 1898 edition of the Eastern Star, a local newspaper of the period, reported that “Mr. Charles P. Clark is to remove the ell of his mansion and replace it by the addition of three stories high and costing more than $5,000. The large barn is in the process of removal to another part of his lot.” Once again the photographic record circa 1880 helps to visualize the appearance of the “Mansion” prior to Charles’ renovations. The whole rear portion of the inn exists almost exactly as the renovations from this period left it.
New research indicates that Charles Clark, as did his grandfather Nathaniel Lord, chose a renowned architect to supervise construction on the “Mansion”. William Ralph Emerson was involved with the detailed architectural plans provided by his firm for the 1898 renovations. The original 1898 renovation blueprints are preserved at the Kennebunkport Historical Society.
Mr. Clark’s renovations resulted in significant interior changes; primarily to the east or rear part of the building. The front half of the structure received limited alterations. The “Mansion’s” present main staircase is an 1898 addition. The inn’s “Gathering Room” was originally the kitchen. Charles’ remodeling resulted in the room’s 18′ concave bay window, curved window seat, high Victorian wainscoting, “target” door moldings and the heavy beamed ceiling. Additionally, today’s kitchen with its large black coal stove was also part of the remodeling. The rear half of the third floor of the building also dates from 1898 changes. As seen in the above picture from the period, the back half of the “Mansion” was originally only 2 stories high, dating from Daniel’s last renovations in the mid 1800s.
There are some interesting additional notes about the 1898 renovations. I’ll cover those in the next blog. Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield, innkeeper