One of Maine's most popular tourist attractions is Walker's Point, the summer home of former President George Bush (but you already knew that, didn't you?). Even when I passed through the neighborhood late last March, I was astonished by the constant stream of traffic coming and going from the scenic turnout looking out to the Bush estate. Once a popular spot for fishermen, the rocky mini-peninsula was purchased by a group of land developers in the late 19th century who called their development Point Vesuvius. From them George Herbert Walker, Bush I's namesake and grandfather, purchased the property, and in 1904 hired the Boston architectural firm of Chapman & Frazer to build a substantial summer cottage near the end of the point. The new house was christened 'Rock Ledge' (betcha thought it was always called Walker's Point).
While not a masterpiece of the shingle style, the large (135 feet from end to end) house contoured agreeably to the site and took full advantage of the 360 degree views.
These photos of the house when it was one year old are from an article by Barr Ferree in the short lived 'American Homes & Gardens' magazine, July 1905 issue, and show the house as it originally appeared, before alterations to the service wing, and changes in the windows.
The floor plan reveals precious few bathrooms for the family and servants for a relatively large house, even in that less plumbing-centric era.
...and not much appears to have changed.
|Uncredited photo, Parade Magazine
The superb porch has long since been enclosed, and the stone columns covered with trellis. I seem to remember reading somewhere once that this is Barbara Bush's favorite room, and has several times been damaged by hurricanes. Even in this badly scanned illustration (when will Google Books develop quality control in their rush to digitize? When???), the pleasure of the old open porch, with its swing, striped awnings and shining floor, practically at the edge of the sea, is obvious.
Chapman & Frazer designed a second house on the property a few years later for Walker's son, which has long since been demolished.
For the complete text of the article in 'American Homes & Gardens', click HERE.