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Blaine House History 

Paul LePage and his family recently moved into the governor’s mansion.The home has a long list of tenants who came before them.It’s a place that’s seen countless governors pass through its halls.We were able to get a look inside to find out how it’s evolved into an important symbol for the state.If these walls could talk, they would give you a look into the lives of some of Maine’s most famous families.”I find it pretty awe-inspiring to know that the LePage’s are the 21st family to live here since 1920, so there’s a lot of Maine history wrapped around these walls.”It can be found in every room of the governor’s mansion, The Baine House. Place that represents much more than just a residence.”I think we often hear, particularly around the time of the governor’s races, the term running for the Blaine House, and so in many ways I think the Blaine House is Maine’s equivalent to the white house. It is a symbol for people all over Maine and of the governorship.”And for state historian, Earle Shettleworth, it was a home he was always curious about.”I can remember as a child my mother coming up to events here, and then coming back and telling me about how wonderful it was.”Along with the first families, the Blaine House plays host to dinners,meetings and lavish parties. A tradition that dates back to even before it became state property.It has had a very interesting evolution in history in that it started out as a private home built by a retired sea captain, Captain James Hall from Bath in 1833.It changed hands in 1863 when newly elected congressman James G. Blaine bought the home as a gift for his wife.”He had really a use of this house as a place to entertain and also to hold many of his political meetings. So, that precedent, which is in many ways what the house is used for today was established under the Blaine’s.”The home became a beehive of public and political activity throughout the nineteenth century.It wasn’t until 1919, when Blaine’s daughter donated the house to the state, that it officially became the home of governors to come.”Previous to that, there had been no official residence and governors either rented a home in Augusta, or they lived in a hotel or boarding house or whatever, and so this was really a wonderful step forward for the state.”While every governor who takes office isn’t required to move into the Blaine House, its most recent tenants believe relocating is an important part of the job.”The Blaine House is the residence for the governor and the first family and we have to really begin to reinstitute that.Governor Baldacci and his family moved into the home in 2003.It’s actually like living atop a museum. The Blaine House has a heartbeat of its own.But with every new family, it takes on a new life, embracing the unique touches each person brings to the home.If anybody had any questions about what took place on that side of the street I’d say you go through my wife. We have separate sides of the street.”On her turf, one of the first lady’s major contributions was restoring the home’s gardens to what they were in 1920.I found blue prints and looked at what was there, what used to be and the opportunity arose to install an original Frederick Law Olmsted design, which adds the history. Again, those stories at the Blaine House for further generations to share and enjoy.With that, the Baldacci’s, like so many of the families before them, have added to the history of the Blaine House. A silent witness to some of the most important moments of Maine’s political past. I’d imagine that the Blaine House knows all of the state’s secrets, probably. They’d know all of them.But much like the memories of each governor, those will remain in the house forever.During the Baldacci administration, the home had its 175th anniversary where first families from the past had a chance to share some some of their stories.