WAYNE — Inside, the property at 15 Memorial Park Lane can feel like a maze.

It was first built in the mid-1800s, as a modest, Cape Cod-style house facing north. It was expanded around 1890, into the elongated, two-story clapboard structure it is today. And at some point in the last century, a separate, standalone barn was built south of the home from wood milled on the property.

“You have to feel a little like Hansel and Gretel,” said Dee Richardson, during a recent, informal tour of the cavernous home. “You have to leave a little trail.”

But when visitors have navigated the inside of the home and safely made it out, the landmarks are unmistakable. The front lawn sits just over Mill Pond in Wayne village, where the town’s manufacturing center used to be located. The back lawn slopes downward into a stand of trees, beyond which Androscoggin Lake can just be seen.

That property, known to some as “Ed Healy’s Manor House,” is one of almost a dozen that will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday as part of a showcase of Wayne’s homes and gardens. The event costs $25 ahead of time and $28 on the day of the tours, and serves as a fundraiser for Cary Memorial Library and Wayne Community Church.

The showcase has been happening bi-annually for the last several years, but this will be the final tour in the series. About 80 volunteers have been recruited to help.


“We’re going out with a bang,” said Richardson, who founded the program along with Ann Fossett. “We’ve covered nearly every other historical property.”

Fossett died last year after a battle with pancreatic cancer, and this year’s tour is dedicated to her.

Among the other properties on the tour are the church and library benefiting from the fundraiser, and the Androscoggin Yacht Club. Most of the stops are privately owned, including the Stone Camp, a three-story, turret-topped boathouse overlooking Androscoggin Lake, and 213 Pond Road, which sits on Pocasset Lake and features extensive perennial gardens.

The sprawling home on Memorial Park Lane is now called Shepherd’s Knoll II and is operated as a nondenominational retreat for pastors and church workers. Its caretakers are Dan and Kathi Coffin, who assumed those roles after Dan retired from his work as a pastor in Phippsburg.

The Coffins have been overseeing considerable changes on the inside of the old home, including realigning the chimneys and — in the future — renovating a section that currently isn’t finished. On stairs in the front of the home, they’ve placed black letters that spell out Christian verse: “The Lord is my… Shepherd, Provider, Restorer…” The rooms upstairs can accommodate about 20 guests.

The last owners of the home were George and Rosemary Place, as well as their children.


With some amusement, Richardson recalled describing the home as “the Place place.” She also described memories of kids from around town playing on its large back lawn. It was such a reliable destination for kids that, if any youth were missing, their parents would first check the property on Memorial Park Lane.

One of the Places’ children, Carolanne “Muffy” Ireland, has many memories of the large home, including marrying her husband, John Ireland, inside it in a small ceremony in March 1968.

“The house held a lot of guests,” said Ireland, who is 71.

Several unique elements can still be seen in the home, including a cupboard above the area that once held a fireplace which was designed for warming bread dough. There’s still a small window in the kitchen, which was meant to shuttle dishes between the butler’s pantry and the main section, and in another part of the house there’s a stained glass window depicting a bowl of fruit that Ireland made in 1980, according to a brochure put together by the tour’s organizers.

The size of the home and the fact that its sandwiched between two of the town’s most distinctive bodies of water is also unique, Ireland said.

“It’s a very unusual situation to have such a large property right in the village, and also on the lake,” she said.


Another section of the home that won’t be open on the tour, but which Ireland always found particularly amusing, is a brick structure in the basement that has a beehive-like shape. A contractor once told the Place family that old chimneys had decorative sections at their base, but Ireland wasn’t certain what its creators intended.

“My brothers used it as a clubhouse,” she said. “We have no idea what the original owners used it for, but it’s very interesting. It’s a very neat, unique type of brick structure.”

The Place family sold the home to the Coffins’ organization in 2015. Ireland, who still lives in Wayne and whose son lives in a home next door to Shepherd’s Knoll II, added that she’s satisfied with the work the organization has done to preserve its design and character.

“I think it’s really special what’s going with the house now, as far as usage,” she said. “And they’re excellent neighbors.”

During the tour on Saturday, guides will be at each stop to explain unique features and history. The event will also include classic wooden boats on display in the barn next to Shepherd’s Knoll II; refreshments and pop-up shopping at Androscoggin Yacht Club; and an art show at the Williams House, a property at 14 Old Winthrop Road.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at the Cary Memorial Library, Wayne Community Church, Julian’s General Store and locations in Winthrop and Manchester. For information, call the library at 685-3612.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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