How to Explore the Local History at the Nickels-Sortwell House

For a look back into the history of the Boothbay Harbor region, a visit to the Nickels-Sortwell House in Wiscasset is in order. The house tells the story of the past and highlights the period of wealth and refinement the early maritime industry brought to the region. Museums and historical places like the Nickels-Sortwell House are the perfect complements to fun and adventure here. So, use this as a guide to help make the most of a visit to this significant home.

Whether a family vacation means relaxing around the resort during an all-inclusive stay or exploring the area, Linekin Bay Resort is the premier destination for a Midcoast Maine getaway. And, with plenty of great on-site activities, the whole family is bound to have fun and make special memories.

For even more of the area’s best local shopping, dining, and adventuring recommendations, request access to our free Boothbay Harbor Vacation Guide today! It’s the best resource for helping guests plan their trip.

The Story of the Nickels-Sortwell House

Located just a few miles from Boothbay Harbor in Wiscasset, the Nickels-Sortwell House is a wonderful example of high Federal architecture. Thanks to the success of the shipbuilding and maritime industry in the late 1700s, an influx of wealth and sophisticated culture dotted the region with affluent landowners and their mansions.

The house’s first namesake, Captain William Nickels, was a ship owner who had the wealth to build such a home. To be exact, the home cost $14,000 to build in a time where pay hovered around $1 per day. As a result, the home served as a public proclamation of Nickels’ wealth, a bastion of prosperity strategically placed on Main Street for all to see. But, as the saying goes: “Pride comes before the fall.” And, the effects of Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo of 1807 brought the family to financial ruin. To make matters worse, in 1812, both Nickels’ wife and eldest daughter passed away. Upon this tragedy, the house went on the market in 1814 to recoup the financial losses the family endured. But, it was just a year later in 1815 that Nickels’ himself fell victim to consumption, more modernly known as tuberculosis.

Over the next 85 years, the house was used as a hotel until Alvin Sortwell purchased it in 1899. Sortwell was a successful industrialist and banker from Cambridge, Massachusetts, with deep ties to Wiscasset. His family called the area home as far back as the early 1700s. So, to honor the history of the house, Mr. Sortwell had the house carefully renovated to its original splendor and added furnishings in the Colonial Revival style. Today, the house serves as a museum and an important symbol of the region’s past.

How to Visit the Home

Admission

Adults | $8

Seniors | $7

Students | $4

 

Directions

Take I-295 to Exit 28, Route 1 North, Brunswick. Follow Route 1 to Wiscasset. Follow Route 1 to the junction with Route 218 at Wiscasset. Nickels-Sortwell House is on the corner.

 

Parking

Main Street parking is available, as well as a public parking lot behind the shops on Main Street.

 

Contact Information

Phone: 207-882-7169

Email: nickelssortwell@historicnewengland.org

Enjoy a Midcoast Maine Getaway at Linekin Bay Resort

Upon finishing a tour of the Nickels-Sortwell House in Wiscasset, return to the comforts of Linekin Bay Resort. Find solace in the wooded cabins and lodges next to the water, and let the kids roam the resort. There are fun activities at every turn! At the same time, relish in the ease of pace that a Maine summer in Boothbay Harbor offers. There’s no wrong way to vacation here! So, browse Linekin Bay Resort’s available cabins and lodges to find the perfect one for your family. Then, contact us today to reserve your new favorite family vacation destination.