The History of the 1774 Inn: The McCobb-Hill-Minott House
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the McCobb-Hill-Minott House after its first three owners, the Inn was constructed between 1773 and 1774 by builder Isaac Packard as lodging for theprominent local businessman James McCobb. Mark Langdon Hill, the son of McCobb’s third wife and Maine’s first US Congressman, lived in the house from 1782 until his death in 1842. In 1854, the home was purchased by Charles Minott, who was to become one of Maine’s first and best-known shipbuilders. The remains of Minott's shipyard can still be seen near the Church at low tide.
Many Original Details
Remain Visible in this Outstanding
Today the main house is recognized as “an outstanding example of a pre-revolutionary mansion, exceptionally well-detailed and finely proportioned”, according to the 1962 Historical American Building Survey. Most of these original details are still evident in the general construction; window shutters and window seats; wood floors and paneling; grand open fireplaces; and the fascinating ‘witch’s door’ with its Roman and Greek crosses to ward off evil spirits!
“Perfect! Exceeded our expectations in every way. We’ll be sure to tell our friends. Thanks!” Godsoe, New York, NY
A NEW DAY AT THE 1774 INN
Another beautiful early summer's day begins at the 1774 Inn
The first golden light of the rising sun glances off the shutters of the Haggett Room and pinpoints the opposite wall. It's too early, but you can't resist enjoying this moment. You leave the warm comfort of the feather-bedded Queen and tiptoe to the window so as not to disturb your still-sleeping partner.
A spectacular dawn not to be wasted
The bright globe of the sun is just appearing from behind the Phippsburg congregational church to your right, and the tops of the pine trees are starting to glow pink. The water on the Kennebec is mirror-like, reflecting the occasional cloud in the pale blue sky.
The wooded edge of far side of the river, perhaps a mile or so away, is hazy from the early-morning mist, but you can just make out a large bird circling above the trees. Closer to shore, a family of ducks is swimming lazily by, with each taking its turn to dive under the water to find the tastiest weeds.
You quickly dress, the shower can wait for the moment, and descend quietly down the wide staircase to the first floor. You're glad that the other guests are still asleep, because you want to experience this moment alone.
The kitchen door is ajar, and the pot of freshly-brewed coffee is already waiting for you.
You pour a large mug and let yourself out of the back door
The fresh morning air kicks you awake, and you gaze down the gently sloping ground, your eyes irresistibly drawn to that majestic, slow-moving body of water known as the Kennebec. The large bird has come closer, and is now swooping over the water in large, erratic circles, presumably looking for some unsuspecting fish too close to the surface.
You walk down the slope, the grass still slightly damp from the early-morning dew, through the stand of pine trees, towards the edge of the river. A flash of something moving fast near the far bank alerts you: could that be an osprey diving for its breakfast? You've heard about the diversity of wild life along this part of the Maine coast, and you're trying to remember which bird song you should be identifying, and which type of duck is foraging for food in front of you.
You look back at the house commanding the slope. Amazing to think that it's been guarding that same spot for over 230 years, virtually unchanged since Isaac Packard completed it in 1774 for local merchant, shipbuilder and politician James McCobb. You can imagine some long-dead predecessor standing in this very same place looking out over an almost identical landscape.
A movement in one of the pines near the river catches your eye.
You move slightly for a better view. That large bird is now crouching in a cradle formed by the pine's lower branches, and it appears to be busy devouring a fish, or even a pigeon. Could it actually be a bald eagle? You've heard that they nest on Lee Island just off the shore, and can often be seen along the Kennebec shores. It has to be...that great curved beak and whitish head is certainly no osprey. What an amazing thrill!
The sun is getting warm now and you realize that it's been over 45 minutes since you opened the back door
Time for breakfast and time to plan the day's adventures amongst the many attractions of the Phippsburg peninsula and also time to tell your fellow guests what they've missed; though in a way you're selfishly glad that you had that magical moment all to yourself!