17 - Redwood 1

Between 1980 and 1992, almost three-quarters of the remaining summer cottages built during Bar Harbor’s summer-resort era were either destroyed or moved [1], and the cottage Redwood is one of the few that has survived into the twenty-first century [2]. Entered onto the National Register of Historic Places on April 3, 1978, Redwood’s significance is its shingle style architecture and its link to Bar Harbor’s social history [3].

Shingle style is a “uniquely American” style of architecture which is characterized by a shingle covered exterior; and while it never became mass-produced, it was very popular in New England seaside resorts from the 1880s through the 1900s [4]. William Ralph Emerson was Redwood’s architect and is most often attributed with the innovation and early use of shingle style [5]. Redwood has become the standard example of shingle style architecture on Mount Desert Island [6] and thought to be the oldest shingle style structure in the country [7].

As for its link to the area’s social history, Redwood’s construction marks a time in which the summer visitor population in Bar Harbor began a transition from boarding in the homes of locals to building grand hotels and family cottages [8]. Built in 1879, Redwood is considered a prime example of the famous summer cottage; and, today it is one of the few remaining cottages to continue to be privately owned, rather than converted for business or public use [9].

By Marisa Higgins


[1] National Register of Historic Places. Harbor Lane – Eden Street Historic District, Bar Harbor, Maine. National Register #09000550.

[2] Register #09000550; National Register of Historic Places. Redwood, Bar Harbor, Maine. National Register #78000166.

[3] Register #78000166.

[4] “Architectural Style Guide.” Historic New England.  accessed September 29, 2015.

[5] Register #78000166; Roths, Jaylene B. “Fred Savage, The Cottage Builder.” The History Journal of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society II (1999): 38-53.; Trotter, Bill. “Fortunes may come and go but MDI mansions persevere.” Bangor Daily News. September 2, 2013.

[6] Roths 1999.

[7] Trotter 2013.

[8] Register #78000166.

[9] Register #78000166; Trotter 2013.

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