Cleftstone— known currently as Cleftstone Manor and less commonly as the How Cottage—was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on September 24, 1999 [1]. As one of the few cottages that survived the 1947 fire, Cleftstone is included for its architectural significance as one of the only remaining area cottages designed by architect Bruce Price.

Bruce Price designed many summer cottages on Mount Desert Island and was the first architect to work on Cleftstone before later additions and alterations [2]. Price previously worked in Baltimore and Philadelphia and is well-known for his contributions to the Tuxedo Park development in New Jersey [3] as well as his summer homes in New York and Maine [4]. In Bar Harbor, the only other remaining Price-designed cottage is The Turrets located nearby on the campus of College of the Atlantic [5].

Cleftstone was constructed in 1881 for Charles T. How and later sold to Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Laura Ellis in the early 1890s [6]. While owned by the Ellises, Cleftstone was a very social home; in fact, a New York Times article in 1903 made note that upon the Ellis’s return for the summer, “Mrs. Ellis will undoubtedly again take her place as one of the social leaders here.” [7] The cottage was given to Laura during their divorce, and her family kept the cottage until it was sold to Josephine McCaffery days before the 1947 fire in which it was nearly destroyed [8]. Some say the cottage survived the fire because nearby seminary students worked to protect the property; but regardless of how it survived, Cleftstone was soon converted and operated as an inn—first by McCaffery and presently by the Bahrs [9].

By Marisa Higgins

[1] “History.” Cleftstone Manor. accessed December 18, 2015.; National Register of Historic Places. Cleftstone, Bar Harbor, Maine. National Register #99001192.

[2] Register #99001192; “Estate Rooms: Bruce Price” Cleftstone Manor. accessed December 18, 2015.

[3] AIA Baltimore. “Bruce Price 1845-1903.” Baltimore Architecture Foundation. accessed December 18 2015.

[4] Register #99001192.

[5] National Register of Historic Places. The Turrets, Bar Harbor, Maine. National Register #74000155; Sassman, Barbara. “Historic Research of the Turrets.” Internet Archive. Senior project, College of the Atlantic, 1978.

[6] Register #99001192; “History.” Cleftstone Manor.

[7] “History.” Cleftstone Manor; The New York Times. “Bar Harbor Happenings.” June 28, 1903.

[8] Register #99001192; “History.” Cleftstone Manor.

[9] “History.” Cleftstone Manor.

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