Sunday, August 31, 2014

Veblen Cottage in Brooklin, Maine

Late August is right about the time the Veblens would have been heading back to Princeton from a summer in Maine, at their cottage overlooking the ocean in Brooklin. Assumptions that the old cottage would have been demolished and replaced with an upscale structure (see below) fortunately proved wrong. Thanks to friends Scotia and Dick, who researched the cottage while visiting Brooklin this summer, we now know that, though the cottage was later winterized and added on to, it's still standing and in good repair, on its perch overlooking the ocean.
The one-story section is likely the original cottage. (Update: Some photos left by the Veblens to be part of a museum at Veblen House and now at the IAS suggest the 2-story portion may be original as well.) Gordon Davisson, the nephew of Elizabeth Veblen's niece, told me he remembered visiting the cottage as a child, and was very impressed by what seemed to him a massive wood stove.
The chimney is in fine shape.
Off in the distance is a shed with similar window treatments, suggesting it was originally part of the same property.
Here is the view of the ocean from the cottage. Thanks to Dick Blofson for the photos, to Scotia for all her sleuthing to track down the cottage, and the people at the Brooklin Keeping Society for their well-kept historical documents and memories.

(Below is an email I received a year ago from the Keeping Society's Richard Freethey, who has since passed away.)
"I asked one of our volunteers who knows more about Brooklin history than anyone. She is around 85. She says her grandfather Walter Crockett did some carpentry work on the cabin for the Veblens. She said they were very quiet and not at all public people who lived a very simple life while they were here. Of course the property was on one of the prettiest spots on Blue Hill Bay, with the lighthouse in the background and the mountains of Mt Desert Island in the background... None of us know but we all suspect that his cabin was replaced by something not as rustic.

June (the volunteer lady) said that some publication she remembered had a picture of Dr Veblen on the beach beside his cabin, but we looked in our files and couldn't come up with it. If we do, I'll let you know."

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