Saco River House
39 Main Street
postcard photo 1906
A circa 1851 map indicates a parcel of land at this location extending from Main Street to the Steep Falls Brook. It appears to be a vacant lot as no building or owner is indicated.
On May 1, 1854, Almon & Betsy Hobson sold this property to Edmund Mann of Standish for $750. The lot runs 6 rods along the road & contains @ 1 & 1/2 acres of land with buildings. This was probably a house with outbuildings.
This becomes the 3rd property Mann purchases in Steep Falls. He previously purchased the house & lot next door (37 Main Street) from Tobias Lord for $200 on November 5, 1852. He also purchased from Eliza Coolbroth a property on the opposite side of Main Street which included a house & cooper shop for $100 on August 20, 1853.
A month after buying the Hobson property, on June 7, 1854 Mann took out a loan with the Portland Mutual Savings Association of Portland for $600.
On the next day, June 8, 1854, Mann took out an additional mortgage from the same firm for $520 against the same property. This mortgage covers all buildings thereon or which Mann may erect thereon. (This mortgage was discharged on September 14, 1857.)
On December 2, 1854 Mann took out another mortgage on the property for $1,116. (Also discharged September 14, 1857.) It appears that this mortgage consolidated the 1st two loans as the dollar amounts are equal.
On May 1, 1855 Mann borrowed $150 from William Hobson of Saco using the above property as collateral.
On June 27, 1855 Hobson sold his interest in the property back to Mann for $500. It is the same property except the deed now indicates it is the lot on which the "Saco River House" now stands.
On July 7, 1857 Mann sells the entire property to the Hope Corporation of Portland, Maine for $2,508.
On October 7, 1858, "Edmund Mann of Standish, for $1 paid by the Hope Company, a corporation established in Portland, Maine, conveys the right & title to a parcel of land with buildings, situated in Standish at Steep Falls..." This appears to be a quit claim deed.
photograph about 1915
photograph from the 1920's
It would appear that there was a substantial home on the property when purchased from Almon & Betsy Hobson in May 1854 as $750 was a large sum of money. Perhaps this is the house indicated on the 1871 map that sits behind the newly built Saco River House.
A month later Mann took out a mortgage for $600. The very next day he borrowed an additional $520. Both of these loans are secured by the named property.
Could these be construction loans? Perhaps some of the money was used to repay an investor for the original sale price.
In December of the same year Mann consolidated these loans for $1,116.
In May 1855 Mann borrowed $150 from William Hobson with this property as collateral. Was Hobson a builder or an investor? The very next month Mann repays the $150 to Hobson plus an additional $350. Have improvements have been made to the property? By this time it appears that Mann has substantially increased his initial investment in The "Saco River House" property.
From this information it appears that construction of the "Saco River House" was begun no sooner than June 1854 and that it had been completed by June 1855.
There is no further deed activity for 2 years until July of 1857 when Mann sold this property to The Hope Corporation for $2,508. Mann's last mention for this property is in October of 1858 when he releases all claim to the property to the Hope Co.
Did Mann run the Saco River House as a hotel for these 2 or 3 years before he finally sold out?
The 1871 map indicates 2 buildings on this lot, one on the street and one further back towards the brook. The front building footprint matches up with the current home. Both buildings are identified as "Misses Treadwell."
One published source, (Standish, Then & Now in Pictures, 1985) notes that this home was built in 1853 by Edmund Mann and was used a tavern / hotel. It was subsequently purchased by Mark Treadwell in 1857 and he made into a home for his family.
Baxter's Steep Falls History (1971) suggests that Edmund Mann built this house in 1858. Baxter also states that Mann & Pelitiah Hobson ran a hotel here known as the "Dirigo House". The third floor was used as a ballroom.
Mann was the Steep Falls postmaster in 1856 and ran the post office from his home.
photograph dated 1958