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Black House

Recently restored, Woodlawn’s main house, also known as the Black House, is Federal in style with Greek revival overtones.  It is based on a design from Asher Benjamin’s architectural book the American Builder’s Companion.  Construction on the house began in 1824 and in late 1827 or early 1828 the family moved in.  The brick was shipped from Philadelphia and is laid without a visible header course.  There are seven chimneys servicing nine fireplaces.  The last member of the family to live at Woodlawn was George Nixon Black, Jr.  Today, the Black House contains all of its original furnishings and collections.

 
History

Colonel John Black built Woodlawn, a 180-acre estate, between 1824-1827.  George Nixon Black, Jr. was the last of three generations of the family to occupy Woodlawn.  He willed the estate to the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations in 1928.  They have maintained it for public use since 1929.

 
Collections

Woodlawn’s collections, including the original household furnishings, were left as they were when the last member of the family, George Nixon Black, Jr., died and left them for the public to enjoy.  The collections reflect three generations of the Black family from 1802 to 1928 and include several styles of European and American furniture, portraits and miniatures, mid 19th century carpeting, books, family photographs, sleighs and carriages, and a wide variety of china and glassware.

 
Out Buildings

Constructed circa 1857, the carriage barn, located directly behind the main house, is comprised of three separate timber-framed buildings.  In the early 1900s George Nixon Black, Jr. remodeled the barn for his prized horses, reflecting his Colonial Revival tastes.  The barn was significantly reduced in size and modified again in 1948.

Across from the carriage barn is the sleigh barn.  Perhaps originally used as a hen house, the structure later housed Woodlawn’s sleigh collection.  It was restored in 2008 and made into a program space.

 
Archives

Woodlawn houses two important archival collections: the business records of Colonel John Black and his son George Nixon Black (thought to reflect over 3200 businesses and individuals in the lumbering trade), and the records of the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations.  Both these collections are available for scholarly use.

 
Historic Landscape

Woodlawn’s landscape is as important to its history as its buildings and collections.  Once a gentleman’s farm, highlighted by agrarian and picturesque qualities, the Black family made Colonial Revival and recreational improvements that reflected their use of the property as a summer residence after 1874.

 


Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park
P.O. Box 1478  •  Rte. 172  •  Ellsworth, Maine 04605  •  (207) 667-8671