We have worked on the Dunn House, of and on, since 1996.
We repaired the plaster on every wall throughout the house, and have repaired doors and windows, replaced a door, built a new bulkhead, replaced built-in shelving, and painted.
We've also sorted out cable, internet, plumbing issues, hung paintings, mounted cabinets, built trellises, done holiday decorations, cut trees, built shelves, and repaired the composting system.
The Dunn House was built in 1848 by Thomas W Dunn. He was one of Thomaston's movers and shakers when Thomaston was one of America's ship-building centers.
Thomas Dunn was born in Boston on 1821, and moved to Thomaston at the age of 16 to work with his uncle, Richard Elliott in Thomaston's growing shipbuilding industry. He married Eliza Giles (possibly Childs) in March of 1846, and built her a house two years later. The house overlooked the harbor but was probably far enough away that the hammering and bustle weren't a problem. It was located just above Elliott Street, and the right of way came to be called Dunn Street.
Although there are few records of Mr Dunn's early life his awareness of the damaging effects of wind is clearly apparent in the design of the house. There are no overhangs on the eaves, so the winds showing up the river would go over the house as smoothly as possible. There are a couple houses in Thomaston like this but strong overhanging eaves are the norm in Midcoast Maine.
Additionally, the original house had no projecting entryways or ells, and the trim was fairly flat.
Extended eaves and overhangs stop rainwater from catching in the trim or running down the siding. They also keep rainwater from pooling immediately next to the foundation, which reduces the amount of water intrusion through the stone and fieldstone foundations endemic to the area. A local house builder would focus more on water management than wind management but clearly this house has done well, still in fine fettle two families and almost 175 years later.
With the house, Mr Dunn built a barn. The most notable feature of the barn is the the second floor has no supporting pillars, so the entire 40x40' floor is unbroken. This was Thomas Dunn's first sail loft, in which he cut and sewed sails (and/or had it done) until Dunn and Elliott built the sail loft on Water Street in 1875.
The open space of the sail loft was also useful to the Thomaston high school basketball team, who used it as a practice scanner for decades in the second half of the Twentieth Century.
Thomas Dunn T. W. Dunn and Co in 1864, which was later named Dunn and Elliott. The company operated until 1920. In that time they built (at least) 18 ships, being 16 schooners and 2 barkentines. Several were used by the US Navy during WWI and returned, and the last was the celebrated five-masted schooner Edna Hoyt.
Anyway, the Dunn House remained in the family until the 1930's, well past the death of Thomas W Dunn. The Lynch family bought it, and kept it until the death of Helen Lynch at the age of 98.
The house has had a kitchen addition, as was the custom, and had been attached to the barn. A small entryway expanded the front door and a larger (although still small) entryway was attached to the South side but otherwise the house is very like Thomas W Dunn would remember.
All of us here at Geoff Banks Carpentry are dedicated to maintain it so the world can have it another 175 years.
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