MANCHESTER – Red Sox immortal Ted Williams was a guest in this house. (Then, as now, fishing in the area was as great as Williams in his day.) Jane Wyman, Hollywood actress and first wife of President Reagan, stayed here, too. Probably during the property’s brief period as an inn.

With 10 rooms and six bedrooms, and two full and two 1/2 baths, the 4,964-square-foot home with three levels of living is ideal for a large family; or, it could once again become a bed-and-breakfast. Certainly, its character makes it an attractive destination. Built in 1916 in the grand style of a classic Maine coastal cottage, the hilltop property could also host events – note the porte cochere (covered entrance to a courtyard); the covered porches front and back; the huge screened side porch off the paneled living room; and the small-restaurant-sized dining room.

Stunning features include massive, floor-to-ceiling granite fireplaces in the living room and in the dining room – note its twin chandeliers and exposed ceiling beams. The cook’s kitchen, updated with granite surfaces and stainless appliances, has a wood stove on a granite hearth.    

The two outbuildings are a great bonus. Above the three-vehicle garage is a one-bedroom guest/in-law apartment, with a longtime tenant in place. Next door, the original carriage house has heat and electricity and is suited to a variety of uses. A single-hoop indoor basketball court, at present.

The grounds, 6.54 acres, are lovely, and slope up behind the house into a pretty wood with trails. About half the acreage is directly across the street, and subdivision is a possibility. The location – less than a mile up the hill from U.S. Route 202, and just a few minutes to central Augusta and Maine Turnpike Exit 109 – is extremely convenient for work/commuting, yet also to Cobbosseecontee and other lakes, and to 18-hole Augusta CC.

The home at 99 Kerns Hill Road, Manchester, is listed for sale at $597,500 by Hoa Hoang of Hoang Realty in Augusta, and is being shown by appointment. Taxes are $6,947.

For more information or to schedule a viewing, please contact Hoa at 623-0623, 485-1485, or at [email protected].

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Photos by Michael Eric Bérubé, Please send feature home suggestions to [email protected].

An eloquent word from the seller: “We have enjoyed our home immensely over the years, and we done a number of updates to it over that time. We think it has real character as well as an interesting past. 

“The Kerns Hill Road is named after a man named Kerns. He had his home in New York shipped up to Maine by railroad in the 1860s. The entire street area was one farm back then. The home burned to the ground in the 1890s, supposedly because Kerns left a smoldering pipe in his sweater pocket and it ignited.

“The property sat for some time. The current home was built in 1916.  The fireplaces are Hallowell granite. They are quite large and sit on a massive foundation. 

“The dining room is a particularly interesting story.  The owner went to New York City and one of the truly elegant hotels of the day, right over Grand Central Station, was being torn down to make an even more impressive hotel.

“The owner asked if he could have the original paneling from what had been the executive dining room. The panels were carved and hand-cut chestnut, some raised, some with ornate scrolling. He had the paneling brought to Maine and installed in the dining room.

“You may notice some imperfections in the wood – that is what chestnut does.  Any bruising or damage to the tree in its lifetime will show up in boards or panels cut from the lumber of the tree. 

“I think it a lovely look, and one you cannot match with today’s paneling. The owner had the panels fitted to the dining room fireplace, and the room was designed for dinner for 35.

“Personally, it is my favorite room. I think it very elegant. I can just see the servants preparing and serving dinner to the family and guests.

“The home was known as one of the “party homes” in the area. The porte cochere allowed guests to disembark without having ladies’ dresses dragging along the driveway. The barn at the back of the property was where the horses and carriages waited, and then in later years, where cars parked.

“The house was originally a nine-bedroom home.  the narrow steps up to the second floor and then to the third floor led to the servants’ quarters. 

“There were five bedrooms on the second floor and four for the servants on the third floor, along with a bathroom with a very small tub. The servants went down the back steps to the kitchen without anyone seeing them.

“The use of the third floor changed as time went on. It became an attic. The steps to the third floor were closed off by the second-floor walls, and then just locked up and not used at all.

“It had not been used in the 20 years or so prior to our purchase in 1994.  We had the entire third floor gutted out to the rafters and rebuilt in an open concept, with one bedroom over the master bedroom.

“The builder showed us the rafters and the “bones” of the third floor. The beams are quite large, and 2 x4s are actually 2 x 4! The builder said that if Kennebec County was ever hit by a hurricane, this home would be the last to come down.

“What is now the master bedroom was a work area for the staff, where washing and ironing, etc., were done. We had the bathroom redone.  We had the walk-in closet built by redesigning one bedroom and by turning a second floor balcony out and expanding the bedroom.

“We wanted the master at the back of the house for more privacy and to be able to look out into the orchards.

“Ted Williams stayed at the home while recuperating from an injury he sustained in the All-Star Game in 1950. Williams loved to fish, and as I understand it, went over to the lake (only a half-mile or so) every day. 

“The renovation of the barn was quite a chore.  We had beams brought in to make an endoskeleton that would support the structure. They run up the walls and into the roof’s peak and are fitted together. Guide wires had to be cut out.  We put in a glass backboard and a new wood floor. It is heated, so the neighborhood kids were there day after day. 

“Finally, the grounds are really something. Someone in the past had quite the green thumb.  The burning bushes in the front are huge. Flowers come into bloom one species after another, so that there is always something blooming.

“Since we own the land on both sides of the road, we can always be assured of privacy.”

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