Wiscasset in Lincoln County, Maine — The American Northeast (New England)
Nickels-Sortwell House 1807
The Museum in the Streets
In 1807, Captain William Nickels built one of the finest examples of high Federal style architecture in New England, a mansion of beauty, style, and sophistication. From the elegant entrance to stunning interior detailing, this is a house designed to proclaim the wealth and taste of its owner.
Eight years later, Captain Nickels, his wife and daughter were dead from a spotted fever epidemic and his estate was bankrupt. The family home became a hotel for the next 84 years, enduring multiple owners and benign neglect.
In 1899, wealthy industrialist Alvin Sortwell and his wife Gertrude of Cambridge, MA bought the house as a summer home for their family of six children aged 8 to 17, plus servants. The old house came alive with children, friends, fun, and laughter.
Gertrude Sortwell furnished the house with beautiful furniture in the Colonial Revival style, combining 18th century antiques with high end reproductions. She and her daughter Frances were stalwart preservationists who restored the house to its former glory. Frances died in 1957, leaving her magnificent home to Historic New England as
This is a house museum open seasonally to the public.
Erected by Ames True Value Hardware, The Doering Family, Historic New England and The Sortwell Family. (Marker Number 15.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1807.
Location. 44° 0.178′ N, 69° 39.958′ W. Marker is in Wiscasset, Maine, in Lincoln County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (U.S. 1) and Federal Street (Maine Route 218), on the left when traveling north on Main Street. Marker is located next to the sidewalk, near the northwest corner of the intersection, directly across the street (to the west) from the subject Hickels-Sortwell house. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 121 Main Street, Wiscasset ME 04578, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hilton House, 1892 & Sunken Garden, 1904 (a few steps from this marker); Wawenock Block • 1858 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Downtown Stores c. 1892 (about 400 feet away); R.H.T. Taylor Store in 1882 (about 400 feet away); Boothbay Maine Civil War Monument (approx. 8.9 miles away); All Gave Some, Some Gave All - Vietnam WarConstable William Lawrence (approx. 9.6 miles away); City of Bath (approx. 9.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wiscasset.
Regarding Nickels-Sortwell House 1807. National Historic Landmark (1970), National Register of Historic Places (1970), and Wiscasset Historic District (1973)
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Wiscasset, Maine - Museum in the Streets
Also see . . .
1. A prime example of Federal architecture.
Nickels-Sortwell House is a National Historic Landmark and one of the region’s finest examples of high Federal-style architecture. Built by successful ship owner Captain William Nickels, the house epitomizes the brief period when shipbuilding and the maritime trade brought wealth and sophisticated tastes to this coastal Maine village. Jefferson’s Embargo of 1807 devastated Wiscasset economically. The Nickels family was forced to sell the mansion in 1814. During much of the 1800s it served as a hotel for a growing number of summer visitors to Maine’s coast. (Submitted on April 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Nickels-Sortwell House.
The house was purchased in 1899 by Alvin F. Sortwell, Mayor of Cambridge, (Submitted on April 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 20, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 137 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.