The Pendleton House

The Holt brothers, Jonah and Jeremiah Thorndike, built the Pendleton House in 1826. Originally called the Brick Block, the building was a storefront for the Holts, and it also housed a post office for many years run by Frederick A. Holt. In the upper floors, Lemuel Ellis once resided, playing his violin, french horn, and other instruments.

“The Brick Block” juggled many owners after Jeremiah died in 1832, being under the management of Captain John Merrill, George Stover, John Snow and so on as a hotel, its name changing from the Brick Block to the Hotel Alma. In the 1870s, the building had fallen into disrepair, and was seized from its owner, Frederick Holt, by the Blue Hill Academy, from whom Nathan Pendleton purchased the building. As an 1877 issue of The Ellsworth American stated: “Blue Hill needs a hotel. There have never been so many strangers and visitors. Five hundred men are working in the quarries.” Thus, Pendleton opened it as a hotel in 1878. Copper mining and granite quarrying in Blue Hill were drawing more workers to the area, and with quarries sometimes employing as many as 1,400 laborers, there was an influx of people to the area. Mr. Pendleton himself was involved in the mining scene, and his hotel gave traveling tradesmen and tourists alike a place to stay, as such it was dubbed the “Pendleton House”. Josie Barker was in charge of the hotel during the mining boom and the registers from the hotel are included in the B.H. Library Archives. The BHHS has a parlor chair, a pitcher and a room key from the hotel from the height of the hotel.

Nathan Pendleton, however, was more interested in mining than hospitality, so he sold the business to William Swazey of Bucksport in 1882, who in turn sold it to John M. Snow in 1888. Mr. Snow encased the building with porches and, in 1896, sold it to George H. Stover, who kept the business going. In 1905, Judge Edward Everett Chase and his family took up living in the house (recounted in Virginia Chase Perkins’ novel America House.) and Judge Chase hired both locals and individuals in a rehabilitation program from local mental asylums. Minot Piper bought the property from Mrs. Chase in 1921 and ran his courier business for the U.S. Mail and freight and later his garage business. Drivers included Edward Pemberton, Luther Piper, Sr, Clifford Piper and Alton Horton.

In 1958 the property and the garage was sold to Foster Blake, Jr. who removed the porches from the building. Heanssler Oil operated a garage there in 1965 and Maine Frame Company has also been housed there in addition to American Railway Express and Western Union. By 1968, Merle Grindle Agency occupied the first floor and the Weekly Packet began publication here. In 1977 Philip Alley ran a Gulf Station at the east end of the building. Today, the building is home to a number of businesses, and although it is no longer a hotel there are still rooms for rent in the upper stories.