The substantial, little altered 1880 Mansard roofed frame structure has an abundance of well preserved decorative trim. The Mansard is a hipped gambrel, which slopes in all four directions of the building and bends along each side. The ‘bell cast” Mansard roof is pierced by dormer windows capped with decorative hoods. The hooded drip moulding is more often seen on Gothic Revival styled houses than on local wooden commercial buildings. This window treatment is carried over onto the large first-story store front openings.
The Mansard roof became particularly popular in urban areas where it provided a full attic story of living space and was also commonly used in remodeling older buildings.
Following the Civil War, a population explosion in the cities and towns of the northern and western United States naturally led to a huge demand for new housing. At the same time, house design books and building parts catalogs were becoming available nationally and streetcars and trains brought newer, more distant suburbs with space for large new houses within commuting distance of major cities. These factors along with a postwar industrial and economic energy resulted in the flowering of a variety of new architectural styles. Overall floor plans and forms became more varied and complex, with styles increasingly defined by the shapes of door and window openings and applied decoration at windows, doors, porches, and particularly front entries.
The Second Empire style was considered to be the modern fashion of the late nineteenth century, mimicking the latest French building styles. Its distinctive Mansard roof was named for an early French architect, Francois Mansart.
HISTORY OF BROWNFIELD, MAINE
From A Gazetteer of the State of Maine
By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill, Boston 1886.
BROWNFLELD is situated in the south-western part of Oxford County. Denmark lies on the east, Fryeburg on the north, Hiram and Porter on the south, and the New Hampshire towns of Eaton and Conway on the west. The Saco River comes down through the northern part, then turning eastward, forms part of the eastern boundary. The Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad passes through the town, following the general course of the river. There is much fine interval land along the course of the Saco, through the eastern part of the town, and along the course of its tributary, the South Branch, through the middle of the town from the south west. The ponds are Burnt Meadow, Dyer's and Rattlesnake, each about half a mile in diameter. From near the centre to the southern line is occupied by a group of seven hills. Burnt Meadow Mountain, near Brownfield Centre, is the highest, variously estimated from 500 to 2,000 feet. South Mountain is next in size. On the opposite side of the stream, in the northern half of the town is a line of three mountains. Frost's Mountain, the eastern one, being estimated variously from 300 to 1500 feet in height. The western in this line is Tibbet's Mountain, and the middle one is Peary's Mountain. Whale's Back is a solitary eminence near the south-western angle of the town. These mountains are much frequented in the season by the lovers of picturesque and extensive views.
This Brownfield History begins with ice and ends with fire; climate defined life then as now.
Brownfield and the surrounding towns which make up the original Pequawket tribal area are rich in history. For at least 12,000 years the inhabitants used the Saco River and the cleared forests for their seasonal rituals of hunting, gathering and eventually planting. The deep connection they experienced between themselves and nature is a connection that continues today for many.
The story, though, can only be pieced together out of fragments left behind and much is still yet to be revealed. The hand written notes on the backs of envelopes, the town reports, the diaries and school reports, the bits of light captured on glass plate negatives stored in cardboard boxes, the journals and calligraphed cards all tell a story of our town and of our commonality.
Research methods have changed considerably since the last history of Brownfield was written in the early 1960s. Information is now accessible online as documents, maps and books are now in the public domain, free to use. The samples of rare plants collected on the Blake farm and Frost Mountain were buried in the National Herbarium of the Smithsonian Institution for 120 years. We can now become archaeologists digging through computer files revealing the past without leaving our armchairs.
Explorers, scholars and writers have been documenting what is unique about this 45 square mile piece of landscape, now called Brownfield, since the Reverend Paul Coffin made his way up on horseback from Narragansett No. 1 (Buxton) and Deer Wander (Hollis) in 1768. John Josselyn, the traveler, journeyed to the White Mountains around the same time, using the Pequawket Trail and documenting his route. The merchants, the farmers and the tradesmen made use of what they found here and transformed it into something useful. Some of the evidence of that can be found in these pages.
To order call Brownfield Public Library at 207 935-3003 or you can order here.
or stop in the Gallery/ Bookstore in the front of the building.