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Tate House Museum, Portland

#7 of 15 in Museums in Portland
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Library
The Tate House is a historic house museum at 1270 Westbrook Street, near the Fore River in the Stroudwater neighborhood of Portland, Maine, United States. The house, one of the oldest in Portland, was built in 1755 for George Tate, a former Royal Navy captain who was sent by a contractor to the Navy to oversee the felling and shipment of trees for use as masts. Because of the house's comparatively remote location away from central Portland, it (along with a number of other homes that make up the Stroudwater Historic District) survived Portland's numerous fires intact. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark as a rare surviving example of a once-common colonial housing form, the clerestory gambrel roof. Since 1935 it has been a museum operated by the National Society of the Colonial Dames.
The Tate House is set on a rise above the north bank of the Stroudwater River, shortly before it empties into the Fore River on the west side of Portland. It is a 2-1/2 story wood frame structure, five bays wide, with a large central chimney. Its unusual roof line has a basic two-stage gambrel form, except the steeper-pitched lower section is separated from the upper section by a bank of clerestory windows. This form, once common in northern New England, is only known to survive in one other building in Maine, the Burnham Tavern. The house is clad in unfinished clapboards. The interior has a typical center-chimney plan, with a narrow vestibule and winding stair at the front. The first floor is otherwise divided into three rooms: living room/parlor to the right, dining room to the left, and a large kitchen extending across the back. The second floor has three bedrooms, and the third has two more. The public rooms of the house feature high-quality Georgian carved paneling, which is believed to have been brought over from England.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
55 reviews
  • Had to leave a shout out to Laura the curator (for a wonderful amount of time) and the sweet tour guide (whose name I didn't catch) for graciously giving us a Cliff's Notes version of the tour AS...  more »
  • The lady that gave our tour was very informative and you could tell that she had a passion for her job! We visited on 10/25/19. We also enjoyed the herb gardens which was near the end of the...  more »
  • Great look at the past. The docents tell a great story. Hard to even imagine how life was when this country was born. Highly recommend this walking tour
  • I cannot rate the tour because, as with much of what we have tried to see on this trip, it's closed for the season. I can however say that the shop attendant was extremely helpful, informative, and went above and beyond to help us find things to do and see while in Maine. Solely based on her friendliness and kind spirit I'd say check out the tour when it's up and going again.

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