As an important reminder of Bar Harbor’s summer resort years and a unique architectural structure, Highseas was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places on November 30, 1978 [1]. Built as a summer home for Princeton University Professor Rudolph Brunnow, the estate was designed by local architect Fred Savage and is one of the best remaining examples of the colonial revival style common among the Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island cottages [2].

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Brunnow’s Bar Harbor summer cottage in 1909, at the time called Meadow Brook, was commissioned and built for his five children and himself between 1910 to 1914 (his wife had passed away some years before). The commissioned architect, Fred Savage, was a native of Mount Desert Island [3], and was eventually involved in over 100 building projects on the island during the summer resort era. While best known for shingle style work, Fred Savage designed this estate which is thought to be one of the best cottages outside that particular style [4]. However, regardless of the style, Savage is most often considered the architect that “defined” the island’s cottage architecture [5].

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Aside from his historic estate Meadow Brook, Brunnow’s legacy in Bar Harbor is also linked to his involvement with building some of Acadia National Parks’ trails such as the Precipice, the Orange Path, the Black Path, and the Beehive Trail while serving as the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association’s path committee chairman from 1913 to his death from pneumonia in 1917 [6]. After Brunnow’s death, Meadow Brook was sold to Mrs. Eva Van Cortland Hawkes and at that point renamed Highseas. Following Hawkes’s death, Highseas was given to The Jackson Laboratory and has since been largely used as the lab’s residence for summer interns and students [7].

By Marisa Higgins



[1] National Register of Historic Places. High Seas, Bar Harbor, Maine. National Register #78000326.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Architectural Drawing & Early Sketches of Fred L. Savage: Drawings from the Gerrish Collections”. Mount Desert Island Historical Society. accessed October 31, 2015. http://mdihistory.org/exhibits/htdocs/vex4/index.htm.

[4] Roths, Jaylene B. “Fred Savage, The Cottage Builder.” The History Journal of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society II (1999): 38-53.

[5] Edgecomb, Misty. “Savage beauty; Northeast Harbor native was MDI’s most prolific architect.” Bangor Daily News. April 16, 2002. http://archive.bangordailynews.com/2002/04/16/savage-beauty-northeast-harbor-native-was-mdis-most-prolific-architect/.

[6] Register #78000326; Lenahan, Don. “Rudolph Brunnow and the Myths about Him”. The Memorial of Acadia National Park. June 9, 2015. http://acadiamemorials.blogspot.com/2015/06/rudolph-brunnow-and-myths-about-him.html.

[7] Register #78000326; “Summer Student Program.” The Jackson Laboratory. accessed October 8, 2015. https://www.jax.org/education-and-learning/high-school-students-and-undergraduates/learn-earn-and-explore.

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