• Restoration
restoration cottage reconstruction

After twenty years of occasional use, Ken Ross, assisted by his brother Carl and others, restored Ross Cottage between 2001 and 2006. Most of the work was done using traditional hand tools to retain the cottage’s rustic, pre-electric quality. This project included: reworking the foundation and adding a supporting I beam; replacing kitchen and dining room floors and some walls with wide pine boards milled by Carl and hand finished by Ken; replacing the boat shed and veranda floors; rebuilding the veranda railings featuring the original distinctive Canadian flag design; painting the exterior and all interior rooms; building a stone retaining wall around the cottage, stone paths and steps to the beach and the spring, and a stone bridge to the spring, using glacial stones taken from Pembroke gravel pits; constructing a privy and bath stall; and improving the cottage woods road and the forest cliff trail.

stone bridge The counter on the half-high divider wall between the dining and living rooms is part of the original planking of the schooner Bowdoin. Donald B. Macmillan, captain of the ship and a companion of Robert Peary on his 1909 expedition to the North Pole, sailed the Bowdoin 23 times to the Arctic and subarctic for Bowdoin College research. The double red oak planking, designed to withstand ice and rocks, was held together by treenails (pronounced “trunnels”) or long wooden pegs. Ken Ross acquired the planking while volunteering to help rebuild the ship at Bath Maritime Museum in the 1980s.

Ross Cottage retains much of its century-old ambience. The fireplace is in its original working order. Much of the furniture, and many of the books in the rainy-day library have been in the cottage for a century or more. A few books have been added, including memoirs of Lelia’s niece Doris Bridges and a biography of her brother Styles. For more on Pembroke history, visit the Pembroke Historical Society.

Initiated in 2003, a conservation easement held by the Downeast Coastal Conservancy protects 5,000 feet of the shoreline, including the cottage property and surrounding acreage owned by Carl Ross and his wife Heather; it extends from Garnet Point northward past the cottage. This easement will contribute to retaining the period ethos of Ross Cottage . . . where coastal Maine meets yesteryear.

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All proceeds are dedicated to the Downeast Coastal Conservancy
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