|When James Craig came to Readfield in 1765 he ran a cable|
ferry across Lake Maranacook.
|Captain William Armstrong's homestead as it looked in 1947.|
This became part of the Martha Washington Inn in the 1920s.
To see some pictures of the Martha Washington Inn during its heyday see the album in the right column. Click on whatever picture is showing at the time and you will be directed to Picasa where you can view an enlarged version
|As the number of guests grew and the owners could not|
accommodate all of them, they built this hotel. This was
torn down around 1992. The Armstrong house remains.
To learn more about many of Readfield’s pioneers visit www.readfield1791.blogspot.com
To answer some questions that arose from the history walk on 6/6/2014:
- In 1924 George and Carolyn Nobis bought the Capt. William Armstrong homestead which had been in the Armstrong family since about 1770. The acquisition included the Armstrong home, 100 acres, and shoreline on the west side of Maranacook Lake.
- The Nobis’ started taking in paying guests at the house but business grew exponentially so in 1929 they took out a $15,000 mortgage with Augusta Trust Company (later became Depositors Trust then Key Bank) to build a hotel adjacent to the house. In 1930 they took out a second mortgage for $3,000 to finish the job. There was a portable sawmill set up by Bill Wyman (of East Readfield) across the road where newly cut trees were sawed into lumber, then brought across the road to construct the building (per Larry Rolfe oral history audio taped by Dale Potter Clark in 7/1986).
- The Nobis’ also built a "boathouse" on the shore. The name and location at the water’s edge implies that building was first used to house their boats. Later, by the time the Poulins bought it, the building had been converted to a gathering place for people to enjoy water recreation, and inside was a pool table and pin ball machines (per Jean Poulin Pratt). The boathouse location is also where guests could arrive by boat from the train station in Winthrop in the earliest days of operation. Later, MWI had a station wagon they used to transport folks from local train stations (I have posted a picture of that in the album on the history walks web site).
- Louis and Pauline Prolman were the last to own and operate MWI during its heyday (1947-1967). When they sold to Gerard Poulin 4/1967 (Book 1440 Page 769-770 Kennebec Registry) the sale included two parcels - one was 40 acres with the buildings and all contents i.e. furniture, dishes etc. - the southern part of lot #68 which bordered on Lake Maranacook - # of feet not stated. The second parcel bordered north of that and included another 650 feet on Lake Maranacook, as stated in the deed.