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History is all around us in Maine, and that is no different in our state’s housing market, where some homes once housed some of the state’s most famous residents.
Last week, the home of William King, considered a father of statehood and Maine’s first governor, sold in Bath for nearly $1 million. It had been on the market for exactly five months. The buyers, both lawyers, listed their mailing address as a home in Newton, Massachusetts, the state that Maine broke from in 1820.
King is not the only famous Mainer to see their home sold since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the state’s housing market. Here are four of the most notable ones that have found new owners since then.
William King, Bath
It’s not often you get to live in the home of the person who championed state independence. Maine’s first governor, William King, has been called the father of Maine’s statehood and spent significant time at this home as he fought for separation from Massachusetts.
The state’s first Gothic Revival estate also represents the first known appearance of medieval architecture here, according to its National Register of Historic Places entry.
King had bought the property the farm sits on around 1809 to 1813, using it as a summer home and commercial farm and sending products from there across Bath’s waters using his own ships.
His primary residence was not this one but a larger home on Front Street. King began leasing the property shortly after Maine achieved statehood but owned it until his death in Bath in 1852.
Katherine Leeman, who sold the home with Christina Stirratt at Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, said it felt great to be part of the sale of such a “gorgeous property” with so much history.
“The new owners are truly stewards of an important historic property,” Leeman said.
Anna Kendrick, Portland
Before Kendrick became Maine’s most famous star in Hollywood, her family lived in this house in the Rosemont neighborhood of Portland while attending nearby Deering High School, where she graduated in 2003 and proceeded to pursue a career in acting.
The home sold for $430,000 in September 2020. It has gathered a significant amount of value since then, with Redfin estimating it is currently worth around $541,000.
That listing did not mention its famous former resident, and the home appears to have been out of Kendrick’s family for many years. In September 2013, Scarborough-based Phase III Properties sold it for $252,000.
Kendrick still makes it back to Portland on occasion. She was spotted in the Old Port last August and appeared to reference being in Portland around the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday on social media. No word if she ever made it back to her childhood home.
Joshua Chamberlain, Brewer
This four-bedroom house was the boyhood home of Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain, who later served as governor of Maine as well as president of Bowdoin College.
Called the Joshua Chamberlain Jr. homestead after his father, who built it in the 1830s, this home was once the site of the family farm.
In his book “Joshua Chamberlain: The Soldier and the Man,” Edward Longacre describes these early years as formative for Chamberlain. He learned a work ethic he would keep his whole life, joining the Congregational church in Brewer and traveling from there to Ellsworth to enter a military boarding school. He saw less of the property after enrolling in Bowdoin College.
The home went for just $156,000 in June 2020, which was $23,000 below the median value of a home in Brewer that month, according to Zillow. The house is likely worth more today, with Zillow estimating a market value of around $273,000.
John Ford, Portland
If you’ve seen a few Westerns, you’ve likely seen at least one film directed by John Ford.
Perhaps most famous for his association with John Wayne, who appeared in 24 of Ford’s films, Ford directed films like “Stagecoach,” “The Searchers” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” He also was the first to adapt John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath” in 1940, which remains the most famous adaptation of the novel more than 80 years later.
Ford was a highly influential director who pioneered techniques like the wide shot and shooting on location. He was a decorated World War II veteran, putting himself in danger to capture battle scenes, including during the Invasion of Normandy in 1944.
Before that, Ford was born in Cape Elizabeth and grew up in this home on Munjoy Hill. He attended Portland High School, where he played football before moving to California to get his start in the film industry around age 20 in 1914.
One condo in the home sold for $650,000 while a second went for $615,000, both selling 20 days between one another in December 2020. Each unit was sold to a separate buyer by sellers who listed their mailing addresses in Louisiana and Seattle, respectively.
Though not open to the public, Ford’s history in the home is memorialized by a plaque at the front that reads “The John Ford House,” along with a movie camera.