Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn:
William Butman's Searsport House

Yesterday I had a "day away" from my typical work and responsibilities.  I rode down Route 1 to enjoy some coastal views with a friend.  We had lunch on the water in Camden.  

On the way back I stopped to take photos of my great great great grandfather's house in Searsport, Maine. It was built in 1830, owned by William Butman.  

Early New England houses commonly have a "big house, little house, back house, barn" design to them.  Sometimes the big house was built after the "little house" section.  Connected houses of New England were necessary and convenient, allowing the owner to get to the barn to feed the animals in cold winters without having to clear snow.  If you enjoy antique house stories, you will want to visit Prudence Fish's blog, Antique Houses of Gloucester and Beyond:

Also, I just purchased the book Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn to learn more:  

Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England

My ancestor's house started off that way, but was remodeled greatly in the latter quarter of the 20th century to become a bed and breakfast.  Here is an early photo of the house, undated.  

It is said by another branch of the family this is the same house.  Perhaps this is the "little house" built before the larger 1830 structure on the end? 

It was converted to a bed and breakfast at some point, being most recently named The Inn Britannia. 

Here is an image from the 1990's after William Butman's Searsport house was renovated to be a bed and breakfast.  Other Butman family branches say previous owners rolled the barn further away from the house to make room for the dark blue 1990 addition.  

And here it is today.  

From the barn end:



Nancy said...

What a treat for you to visit the home of your ancestors. How wonderful that it is in such good repair after so many years and still useful. I'm not from New England but first learned about these extended/connected homes and buildings from a fellow family history blogger at Those early New Englanders were very wise. It makes so much sense to make the trip to the barn easier on themselves in the snow-dense winters.

I think the grey with cream trim gives it a very noble appearance. Thanks for sharing.

Dixie Redmond said...

Thanks, Nancy! I live about 40 minutes from there. I wish I could see the inside!

Edyth said...

Splendid old house! Yes the gray is so right. I think it is so great to be able to enjoy a place your family lived long ago. Thanks for sharing, e

Unknown said...

My family owned this house from 1985 until 2004. So happy to see it in this post - lots of happy memories!

Dixie Redmond said...

Hi, Jennifer! One of my family members visited during that time, it’s a beautiful house.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden