The Pownalborough Court House still stands on its original site on the banks of the Kennebec River in Dresden. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Court House is a remarkable example of colonial New England architecture. Designed by Boston architect Gershom Flagg and built in 1761 by the Kennebec Proprietors for the newly created Lincoln County, the Pownalborough Court House received such notable visitors as John Adams, Benedict Arnold, Robert Treat Paine, William Cushing, Reverend Jacob Bailey and two future Massachusetts governors: David Sewall and James Sullivan. Numerous trials were held here, including that of Judge North which was featured in the Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, based on the diary of local resident Martha Ballard (1735-1812).
The Court House has also served as a tavern, a place for church services, a dancing school, and as the Dresden Post Office from 1807-1855. In addition to its vital role in the legal history of Lincoln County and Maine, the Court House was a family home. From 1761 – when Captain Samuel Goodwin, an original Kennebec Proprietor and captain of the guard at Fort Shirley, moved his family from the guardhouse into the Court House – until 1954, his descendants used the building as their home. Today the building is stewarded by the Lincoln County Historical Association, with tours available to the public on a seasonal basis.
The exterior painting project will address not only peeling paint, but also the proper repair or replacement of damaged clapboard and trim in a few areas on the building, and is scheduled for completion in 2023. To support this campaign, please mail tax-deductible contributions to LCHA, P.O. Box 61, Wiscasset, ME 04578.
Lincoln County Historical Association is a non-profit organization that provides stewardship for the 1754 Chapman-Hall House in Damariscotta, the 1761 Pownalborough Court House in Dresden, and the 1811 Old Jail and Museum in Wiscasset. For more information, please visit www.lincolncountyhistory.org, Facebook at Lincoln County Historical Association (Maine) or Pownalborough Court House Museum.