Marion (Old Rochester) is one of the oldest towns in the United States, and the Sippican Historical Society maintains an extensive collection of documentation on its historic buildings. In 1998, the Sippican Historical Society commissioned an architectural survey of Marion’s historic homes and buildings. Over 100 were cataloged and photographed. SHS will feature one building a week so that the residents of Marion can understand more about its unique historical architecture.
This week we feature Great Hill. Great Hill, a peninsula consisting of 313 acres that jut out into the bay, was the site of Marion’s first summer hotel, the Marion House, which accommodated 300 guests. Today, this estate encompasses the largest main house and the most extensive collection of ancillary buildings in the town of Marion. Native Americans relied on Great Hill’s elevation as a strategic lookout to protect their families and crops. Great Hill also served as their sacred tribal meeting ground. In 1909, Galen Stone, a Boston investment banker, purchased the property. He demolished the hotel and hired architect Horace S. Fraser to design a rambling mansion built out of Hayden stone taken from the Philadelphia area. The family firm was called Haden Stone, and thus the use of that type of stone. The Tudor manor house was copied from an estate north of London called Compton Wyngates. By 1911, the Stones moved into the massive summer “castle” with 30 servants. Another 20 male employees lived in a building on the grounds for the staff. Reduced in size by approximately four-fifths today, the residence is still a substantial stone and brick building.