United States

Boston & Kennebunkport Seashore Company Development

In 1872 entrepreneurs from Boston joined with Maine businessmen to form the Boston and Kennebunkport Seashore Company. They bought 700 acres, including more than five miles of oceanfront, and developed plans for a summer colony to rival Bar Harbor. The company built at least 30 hotels and dozens of summer mansions throughout the Kennebunks.

After a new railroad spur brought visitors directly to Kennebunk Beach in 1883, the Company prepared a subdivision plan for about 60 acres, much of which was completed. The plan encompassed 90 cottage lots, two hotel sites, and natural features including a mineral spring, oak grove, and spruce knolls. The roads closest to the beach were built and now feature large Shingle-style cottages with extensive ocean views that create a cohesive neighborhood. Many residential lots have extensive open lawns scatted with trees, and edged with evergreen and flowering shrubs to provide privacy. In keeping with the 1883 plan, roads further from the shore are narrower, with smaller cottages. The oak grove remains intact, with a newer seasonal flower garden planted at its entrance. On a highpoint with commanding ocean views, the Company built the Atlantis Hotel in 1903; it was torn down in 1967 and is now a private residence. On the second hotel site, summer residents established the Kennebunkport Golf Club in 1896. Now known as the Cape Arundel Golf Course, it was extensively redesigned by golf course architect Walter Travis in 1921 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

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