John and Maria Webb House
In 2011 the Museum purchased the John and Maria Webb house, built c.1830s in the center
of Bridgton. In 2016 the Webb house became the Rufus Porter Museum's new headquarters
following a lengthy exterior restoration and interior rehabilitation. The first floor is open to
features exhibits on Rufus Porter and the museum store while the second floor is used
as the museum office space.
John Webb was the son of Revolutionary War veteran Michael Webb and his wife Rebecca Sears
Webb who moved to Bridgton from Massachusetts* at the end of the 18th century (*Maine was
not yet a state, it was still part of Massachusetts). They had followed Rebecca’s parents William
and Elizabeth Sears who were original settlers in Bridgton. When John came of age he went to
Massachusetts, where he worked as a blacksmith and married Maria Dillingham, but they
soon came back to Bridgton and tried farming for a short time.
In the early 1830s the Webbs sold their farm on Highland Ridge, and John opened a blacksmith
shop on Main Street. They purchased land across from his shop on which was (the evidence seems
to suggest) an existing Federal-style house. John’s business did well and he and Maria
“modernized” their home by adding Greek revival elements, giving it prominence that reflected
the economic health of their proud and bustling town.
The museum accomplished a milestone in 2013 when the Webb House was officially entered in the National Register of Historic Places. The ca. 1842 John and Maria Webb House is significant because it is a well-preserved example of Federal and Greek revival architecture, two of Maine’s most popular nineteenth-century styles. It represents the kind of vernacular architecture found in a typical 19th-century community that integrated industry and domesticity to create a robust town center. While Bridgton’s Main Street once had other residences from this era, the Webb House is one of the last to survive and has not been converted to retail or service use. The museum is proud that the Webb House joins ten other NR properties in the Bridgton area and would like to thank Margaret Gaertner, Historic Building Consultant, for helping us to obtain
National Register status.
Webb House (under arrow) corner of Church and Main Streets from Birdseye view of Bridgton, 1888
John and Maria Webb House, in 2012 prior to renovations
The completed exterior restoration in December 2015.
Thank You to Our Supporters for Making the Restoration of the Webb House Possible.
Individual donations, volunteer effort and time, as well as grant funding received from the following foundations:
Kendal C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation
Bridgton Community Development Block Grants,
Clarence E. Mulford Trust
Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust
Carl M. Lindberg Family Foundation