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McLellan House

Built in 1801, McLellan House, located in Portland, Maine, is a preeminent example of neo-classical architecture and design. It is reputedly the oldest brick house in the state. Hugh and Elizabeth McLellan were the original owners. With remarkably intact interiors and decorations, it set a new example for domestic architecture among Portland's elite. The mansion features beautiful federal architecture and decor, including bright period wallpaper, carpets, and a hand-painted floor cloth. McLellan House was the creation of John Kimball Sr., one of Portland's most highly regarded housewrights. He built it for Major McLellen, a shipping tycoon. Considered to be the premier example of Kimball's work, the three-story, four-square mansion was the product of the post-revolutionary building boom, spurred by the resurgence of an energetic maritime economy that transformed Maine's coastal towns and cities. The house was built on a large plot at the corner of Spring and High streets. The McLellan family's enjoyment of their home was brief. The major's wife, Abigail, died in 1807, and in the same year, his cargo business started to fall off due to fiscal disasters brought on by the British trade embargo. When the house was auctioned, Asa Clapp purchased it on August 29, 1817. Like Hugh McLellan, Clapp had to face a financial crisis. His son, Charles Quincey Clapp, resided with his family in the house until 1877, when Julia Clapp, C.Q.'s wife, died. In 1880, Clapp's family sold the McLellan House to Colonel Lorenzo de Medici and Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat. Near the time of Jane Mussey's death in 1908, she deeded the McLellan House to the Portland Society of Art. The house, now owned by the Portland Museum of Art, preserves fine collections of 19th-century American paintings and decorative arts.