Click on an image to see the Exhibit. These are modest early works, to be greatly enhanced in 2018! Meantime, be sure to checkout the Prouts Necker issues, found under the LIBRARIES tab above.

1905ca Jocelyn Hotel and beachDevelopment into a Summer Colony

The Libby family subdivided Prouts Neck in 1878, and within a decade the hotels and boarding houses were accompanied by a growing number of private cottages. By 1885, over a dozen stunning seaside resorts had sprung up nearly overnight. Before long, the area became a popular summer destination. By the 1880s Charles S. Homer, Winslow’s father, purchased a significant portion of the land on Prouts Neck, including a home on the southern tip. The Homer family built several houses in the area that were designed by John Calvin Stevens as speculative property..

Location? (C Willauer)Founding Families

The Homer family’s decision to occupy Prouts Neck was partly due to the convenience of having a central gathering place for the family in the summer, and partly a business venture. Homer’s father, Charles Savage Homer Senior, most likely modeled Prouts after the idea of Easthampton: first buying all of Prouts Neck over the next few years, overseeing the construction of his sons’ cottages, and selling parcels of land to approved individuals later on. Charles Savage Homer Junior built The Ark in 1883, followed by Arthur Benson Homer’s El Rancho in 1882. Just as Arthur Benson had hired Stanford White to be his chief architect, so too did the Homer men choose a chief architect, a John Calvin Stevens…

1900 Cammock House postcardThe Hotels of Prouts Neck

In the year 1900, there were more than a dozen hotels and boarding houses between Prouts Neck and Scarborough Beach. This page shows you pictures of all of them, which you can click to full full-size images and zoom in to see details. The big hotels include the Jocelyn House Hotel, the Southgate House, and the Checkley House Hotel. The smaller boarding houses include the Willows, the Prouts Neck House, the Cammock House, the Lee House, the Atlantic House, and more. Make sure to check out the CHECKLEY HOUSE HOTEL circa 1896 — there is a horse and carriage driving down a dirt road in the foreground!

1900 Scarborough Train StationImpact of Transportation

The new train line put in by Boston & Maine Railroad in 1872 coincided with the death of Captain Thomas Libby, who owned nearly all of the Neck. His heirs divided the land into over 500 lots, and families from Boston, Philadelphia, and New York clamored for one of the waterfront lots. But the Kahler family and Ira Foss saw the potential to create a seaside resort community wherein the hotels are gathering places for all summer residents. The electric streetcar, also known as a tram or trolley, was invented in Germany in the 1880s and reached Scarborough by 1900…

Winslow Homer StudioWinslow Homer’s Studio

An in-depth architectural historiography of the structure that was Winslow Homer’s studio. Since Homer’s death, his studio has been used and enjoyed by younger generations in varying capacities, all which sought to preserve the spirit of Uncle Winslow’s way of life. For over a century the simple structure has endured many a nor’ easterly wind, renovation, curious visitor, and dinner party, all the while perpetuating the myth of how the intensely private Homer spent his days. While Charles Savage hosted parties…

Want to learn more about Maine history? Or maybe you want to view the Portland Museum of Art’s LIVE webcam at Winslow Homer’s studio? Check out our Other Resources page, which has more websites related to the history of Scarborough and Maine.


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