John Calvin Stevens
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (April 2013)|
|John Calvin Stevens|
October 8, 1855|
|Died||January 25, 1940
|Awards||Congressional Record of Recognition (2009)|
|Buildings||State Street Church, Portland, ME
Richard Webb House, Portland, ME
Municipal Building, Skowhegan, ME
L. D. M. Sweat Galleries, Portland, ME
Saco Museum, Saco, ME
Forest Avenue Post Office, Portland, ME
John Calvin Stevens (October 8, 1855 – January 25, 1940) was an American architect who worked in two related styles — the Shingle Style, in which he was a major innovator, and the Colonial Revival style, in the first half of the 20th century. He designed more than 1,000 buildings in the state of Maine.
John Calvin Stevens was the son of Maria Wingate and Leander Stevens, a cabinet maker and builder of fancy carriages. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but at the age of two his family moved to Portland, Maine.
Stevens wanted to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but lacked the money to attend. Instead, he apprenticed in the Portland office of architect Francis H. Fassett, who in 1880 made him a junior partner to open the firm's new Boston office. Another architect working in the same building was William Ralph Emerson, whose historicist aesthetic in the Queen Anne Style had a profound effect on him.
In 1877, he married Martha Louise Waldron, who bore him four children. Stevens opened his own office at Portland in 1884.
In 1888 he formed a partnership with Albert Winslow Cobb, who wrote the text and Stevens provided the illustrations for an early study of the Shingle Style: Examples of American Domestic Architecture (1889). Some sources list the firm as Cobb & Stevens, and others as Stevens & Cobb, but the partnership was dissolved in 1891. His son, John Howard Stevens, became an architect and joined the father's firm in 1898. The son became a full partner in 1904, and the firm was renamed Stevens Architects.
"The architect of Mr. Smith's house ... has struck out for himself, with due regard for the spirit and meaning of classic works, but without subservience to their details. Effect has been sought by strength of mass and simplicity of form. ...[I]t is natural, in the highest and best sense of the word."
In the comprehensive survey The Shingle Style (1955), Vincent Scully described the Smith house as "the pièce de résistance in Sheldon," "a more sweeping and coherent version of Stevens' own house," and "Stevens' masterpiece in this kind of design." The architectural historian also praised "his powerful alterations for the Poland Springs House, a summer hotel."
Houses designed by Stevens can be found along the Maine coast, as well as in Portland (particularly the city's elegant West End) and its suburbs. He also designed public libraries, municipal buildings, grand hotels and churches as well as nine buildings for the campus of Hebron Academy, which included the Psi Upsilon Fraternity House on the Bowdoin College campus.
In one of his rare commissions outside of Maine, he created a master plan for and designed, a chapel and at least six barracks buildings at the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers ("Southern Branch") in Hampton, Virginia.
Stevens was also a landscape painter who belonged to the "Brushians," a Portland art group which went on weekend outings, and exhibited his work with the Boston Art Club, the Portland Society of Art and others. An oil painting by Stevens, Delano Park, Cape Elizabeth (1904), is in the collection of Blaine House, the Maine governor's official residence.
He was also an avid art collector. He donated, Afternoon Fog by Winslow Homer, adjudged in 1914 as the most valuable work of art in the collection of the L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Art Museum, today's Portland Museum of Art.
He died in 1940, and is buried in Portland's Evergreen Cemetery.
In recognition of his over 300 buildings on the Portland peninsula, with dozens more in the surrounding neighborhoods and islands, the city declared October 8, 2009 to be John Calvin Stevens Day. The ceremony included a Congressional Record of Recognition presented by the office of Senator Olympia Snowe.
- Congregational Church, Berlin, New Hampshire (1882), Fassett & Stevens, architects.
- Sanford Baptist Church, Sanford, Maine (1888), Stevens & Cobb, architects.
- First Baptist Church, 47 Church St., Gardiner, Maine (1890), Stevens & Cobb, architects.
- Alterations to State Street Congregational Church, Portland, Maine (1892–93).
- Freeport Baptist Church, Freeport, Maine (1896).
- Hancock Point Chapel, Hancock, Maine (c.1900).
- Parish House, Williston Congregational Church (now Williston-West Church, UCC), Portland, Maine (1904).
- Zadoc Long Free Library, Buckfield, Maine (1900–01).
- Brown Memorial Library, Clinton, Maine (1903).
- Rumford Falls Library, Rumford, Maine (1903).
- Cary Library, Houlton, Maine (1903–04).
- Knight Library, Waterford, Maine (1911–12).
- Davis Memorial Library, Limington, Maine (1912).
- Charles M. Bailey Public Library, Winthrop, Maine (1916).
- Paris Public Library, South Paris, Maine (c.1925).
- Bethel Public Library, Bethel, Maine (1937–38).
- A. R. Wright cottage, Pine Points, Scarborough, Maine (1881), Fassett & Stevens, architects.
- John Calvin Stevens House, 52 Bowdoin St., Portland, Maine (1883–84, altered).
- Winslow Homer house and studio, Prouts Neck, Maine (1884).
- Brown-Donahue house, Delano Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine (1885–86).
- James Hopkins Smith house, 143 Foreside Rd., Falmouth Foreside, Maine (1886, altered).
- Additions to "Thornhurst," General John Marshall Brown house, Falmouth Foreside, Maine (pre-1888).
- "Belfield," Henry St. John Smith house, Cape Elizabeth, Maine (c.1890 altered).
- Captain John W. Deering house, Kennebunkport, Maine (1890), Stevens & Cobb, architects.
- "Bonnie Brae," Erskine H. Bronson house, Kennebunkport, Maine (1895–96).
- "Braemar Cottage," Edwin Packard house, Kennebunkport, Maine (1897).
- "Endcliffe," Frederick W. Moss house, Kennebunkport, Maine (1897–99).
- Henry Merrill house, Munjoy Hill, Portland, Maine (1898).
- Wil C. Johnson house, Hallowell, Maine (1899).
- "Oak Bank," Cumberland Foreside, Maine (1900).
- Psi Upsilon Fraternity House, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine (1900–03). Now a student residence known as Quinby House.
- Governor John Freemont Hill house, Augusta, Maine (1901–02). Now St. Paul Center, Catholic Charities Maine.
- Edward W. Cox house, 111 West St., Portland, Maine (1905).
- Richard Webb house, 29 Bowdoin St., Portland, Maine (1906–07).
- Professor George W. Files house, Brunswick, Maine (1910).
- "Shorelands," Edward M. Hagar house, Camden, Maine (1912).
- Charles Fox house (now Oxford House Inn), Fryeburg, Maine (1913).
- "Elmhurst," John S. Hyde house, Bath, Maine (1913–14). Now Hyde School, Bath campus.
- "Channelside," Frederick Walker house Cape Elizabeth, Maine (c.1914).
- Louisa Spring house, 305 Danforth St., Portland, Maine (c.1920).
- "Stone House," Stanley Wood house (now Stone House Conference Center, University of Southern Maine), 642 Wolf Neck Rd., Freeport, Maine (1922).
- L. Brooks Leavitt house, Wilton, Maine (c.1925).
- "The Shelter" (gazebo), Cushing's Island, Maine (1886, restored 2001).
- Alterations to Poland Spring House, Poland, Maine (c.1888-91), Cobb & Stevens, architects.
- Sturtevant Hall, Hebron Academy, Greenwood, Maine (1891).
- Biddeford City Hall and Biddeford's City Theater, Biddeford, Maine (1895-96). Rebuilt by Stevens after a December 1894 fire.
- Riverton Trolley Park Casino, Portland, Maine (1896).
- Cape Cottage Casino, Cape Elizabeth, Maine (1898–99).
- Bay of Naples Inn, Naples, Maine (1899, demolished 1964).
- New Belvidere Inn (now Tides Inn-by-the-Sea), Kennebunkport, Maine (1899).
- Belgrade Hotel, Belgrade Lakes, Maine (c.1900, burned 1955).
- Master plan, chapel and barracks buildings, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers ("Southern Branch"), Hampton, Virginia (1906–08).
- Nathan Clifford Elementary School, Portland, Maine (1907).
- Municipal Building and Opera House, Skowhegan, Maine (1907–09).
- L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Galleries, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine (1910).
- Camden Yacht Club, Camden, Maine (1912).
- Alterations and Annex to The North School, Portland, Maine (1921).
- Pike Memorial Building (Town Hall), Cornish, Maine (1925).
- York Institute (now Saco Museum), Saco, Maine (1926).
- Forest Avenue Post Office, Portland, Maine (1933–34).
- Albert Fells Cottage Jefferson, Maine (1937). Featuring a sleeping porch and piazza.
- Uptown Theatre, Bath, Maine (1938).
John Calvin Stevens House, Portland, ME (1883-84), in 1965. The box window, left, was originally the entrance porch.
Sturtevant Hall, Hebron Academy, Greenwood, ME (1891). Stevens designed 9 buildings at the school.
L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Galleries, Portland, ME (1910). Stevens's art gallery addition is at left.
Charles M. Bailey Public Library, Winthrop, ME (1916).
- Stevens Genealogy
- Stephen Abbott, John Calvin Stevens, the Early Years, Maine Home & Design 2007
- Kevin Murphy & Kim Brian Lovejoy, Colonial Revival Maine, Princeton Architectural Press 2004
- George William Sheldon, Artistic Country Seats I (New York, 1886-87), pp. 177-80, plate 41.
- Vincent J. Scully, Jr., The Shingle Style (Yale University Press, 1955), p. 118.
- Friends of the Blaine House, Blainehouse.org
- Portland Society of Art, Maine, American Art Directory, Vol. 11, R. R. Bowker, 1914
- "John Calvin Stevens," in Harrie B. Coe, Maine: A History, Volume 1 (Clearfield, 1928), p. 35.
- The Forecaster, 'An indelible mark': Portland to honor the legacy of John Calvin Stevens
- Congregational Church
- Sanford Baptist Church from Maine Memory Network.
- Henry Sweetser Burrage & Albert Roscoe Stubbs, Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, Volume 3, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York 1909
- First Baptist
- State St. Church from Maine Memory Network.
- Freeport Baptist Church from Maine Memory Network.
- Hancock Point Chapel from Flickr.
- Williston-West Church
- Zadoc Long Free Library
- Rumford Fall Library from Maine Memory Network.
- Knight Library from Maine Memory Network.
- Davis Memorial Library
- History of Winthrop, Maine 1771-1925, p. 111.
- Plan for Paris Public Library from Maine Memory Network.
- Elevation for Paris Public Library from Maine Memory Network.
- Bethel Library
- Wright cottage from Maine Memory Network.
- Stevens house from Maine Memory Network.
- Winslow Homer studio
- Winslow Homer house
- J.H. Smith house from Maine Memory Network.
- Thornhurst from Maine Memory Network.
- Belfield from Maine Memory Network.
- Belfield from Maine Memory Network.
- Deering house from Maine Memory Network.
- Endcliffe from Maine Memory Network.
- Johnson house from Hallowell Phototour.
- Oak Bank
- Psi Upsilon
- Hill house
- Cox house
- Webb house from Maine Memory Network.
- Files house from Maine Memory Network.
- Oxford House Inn
- Elmhurst from Fotki.
- Spring house from Maine Memory Network.
- Stone House from USM.
- Poland Spring House diningroom from Maine Memory Network.
- Biddeford City Hall
- City Theater
- Tides Inn-by-the-Sea
- Southern Branch from NPS.
- Nathan Clifford Elementary
- Skowhegan Municipal Building
- Camden Yacht Club
- Pike Hall
- Saco Museum
- Forest Avenue Post Office from Maine Memory Network.
- Uptown Theatre from Maine Memory Network.
- Article about Castillo Del Mar- a tiled Spanish beachfront villa designed by John Calvin Stevens. "Lindbergh Slept Here", Portland Magazine, Winterguide 2013/Vol. 27
- In Maine, Acquiring a Homer Landscape, The Washington Post, 1 October 2004
- John Calvin Stevens, domestic architecture, 1890-1930, by John Calvin Stevens II, and Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Scarborough, Me. : Harp Publications, 1990. ISBN 0-9626389-1-9.
- John Calvin Stevens on the Portland Peninsula 1880 -1940, A listing of his work by Address, Client, and Chronology, by Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Director, Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
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