Wiscasset in Lincoln County, Maine — The American Northeast (New England)
Hilton House, 1892 & Sunken Garden, 1904
The Museum in the Streets
A secret garden alive with flowers three seasons of the year, the Sunken Garden was created by Frances Sortwell in the foundation of the Hilton House hotel. The site of a tavern since 1766 and the town stagecoach stop for most of the 19th century, the hotel was purchased in 1892 by William Hubbard, who renamed it the Hilton House. The hotel offered well-appointed rooms, excellent food, service and a livery stable. Business was so good that Hubbard also bought the old Nickels house across the street and ran it as The Wiscasset House.
Fire destroyed the hotel on October 8, 1903, leaving only the water tower standing. Alvin Sortwell bought the property, and his wife Gertrude and daughter Frances built a garden in the ruins, a place for relaxing and outdoor entertaining. Frances Sortwell enlisted some of her accomplished friends to design the garden, including Rose Ishbel Greeley, one of the first female landscape architects in the country, and noted NYC landscape architect Wolcott Andrews.
In 1958 after Frances' death, her brother Daniel and her sisters Clara Marean and Marion Warland gave the garden to the town.
Erected by Ames True Value Hardware, The Doering Family and The Sortwell Family. (Marker Number 16.)
Location. Touch for map. Marker is located on the grounds of the Wiscasset U.S. Post Office at this intersection, near the main entrance, by the sidewalk. Marker is at or near this postal address: 140 Main Street, Wiscasset ME 04578, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Nickels-Sortwell House 1807 (a few steps from this marker); Wawenock Block • 1858 (about 300 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 War (approx. 9.6 miles away); Constable William Lawrence (approx. 9.6 miles away); City of Bath (approx. 9.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wiscasset.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Wiscasset, Maine - Museum in the Streets
Also see . . .
1. Old newspaper details 1903 Hilton House fire.
At the time of this fire, Wiscasset lost its only hotel, and historic building. According The Bath Independent, “For 125 years a hotel has stood on that corner and been conducted (Submitted on April 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. The story of Wiscasset's Sunken Garden.
After Wiscasset's Hilton House Hotel burned to the ground in 1903, Gertrude and Frances Sortwell, whose family owned the house across the street, put the hotel's stone foundation to good use. Miss Frances and her friends, including Rose Ishbel Greeley, one of the first female landscape architects in the country, transformed the dismal site into a beautiful and tranquil sunken garden. (Submitted on April 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Wiscasset’s Sunken Garden.
Frances Sortwell had a wide and varied group of friends that included artists, academics, professionals, politicians, and many members of similar Gilded Age families through school and family connections. Miss Frances and her friends, including Rose Ishbel Greeley, (Submitted on April 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Parks & Recreational Areas •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 72 times since then. 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.