Sold to Silvanus C. Blanchard Sr., a renowned ship captain turned shipbuilder and founding partner in Blanchard Brothers Shipbuilding firm, the house was actually originally built and lived in by his son: S. C. Blanchard, Jr. and his wife, Abbie, for twenty years before it passed out of the family.
The building at 317 Main was designed by architect Charles A. Alexander (1811-1887) in the Italianate style and is a classic example of this architectural period. The style is also known as the Picturesque style which began in Europe as a reaction to formalism. It was heavily influenced by the rambling farmhouses and villas of Italy and reached its pinnacle in the mid-century. In America, the Italianate style features a richly detailed exterior with wide projecting cornices featuring heavy brackets and heavily ornamented windows, porches, and doorways.
The building at 317 Main follows in this tradition with solid frame construction, a hipped roof, polygonal cupola, brick chimneys, clapboard siding, and a granite foundation. Originally, the house had three porches with denticulated cornices. The front facade faces south and includes two large bay windows (a common feature of the Italianate style, intended to suggest a piano nobile) flanked by louvered shutters and arched panel surrounds. This front room currently houses our Café – a pleasant, sunny place in which to read, relax or work.
The superior design and craftsmanship of the building at 317 Main, including the large 6/6 fenestration and spacious, light-filled interior rooms, bespeaks both the position and success of the Blanchards in their time, as well as that of Charles A. Alexander. From the beginning, 317 Main has held a special place in the Yarmouth community and is an example of how inspiration, art and industry can combine to create a thing of lasting beauty and usefulness.
The distinctive structure sits on half an acre, originally surrounded by an ornate wrought-iron fence that delineated the gardens where the parking lot is now situated. In addition to the main house, 317 Main has a two-story ell that extends eastward linking the house with the carriage house. The structures have withstood the ravages of time and Maine weather and are in good condition. Today, the ell houses practice rooms and office space.
The building has passed through many hands over the years, and most recently housed several businesses. In 2004, 317 Main was purchased by our founder with the intent to create a gathering place for the community to learn, teach and enjoy music in an inspiring environment. 317 Main purchased the building from the founder in 2015.
The interior of 317 Main is as extraordinary as its exterior and features many original details, including hardwood floors, tall ceilings, and an open-well central staircase. As practice spaces, the rooms have a unique historic ambiance while providing the comforting setting of a gracious old home.
Our thanks to the Yarmouth Historical Society for their help in researching the history of this wonderful and historic building.