House Tour Schedule and Fees
One of the finest Federal style residences in its region, the Dr. Moses
Mason House was constructed in 1813 on a
facing onto the Common at Bethel Hill village. According to Dr.
Nathaniel Tuckerman True, Bethel's eminent nineteenth century
historian, this house was the first
on the Common to be painted white, the first on a high foundation of
slabs, and the first to make use of exterior shutters. The house
grounds were renovated and restored in 1972-73
the Bingham Trust, which presented the property to the Bethel
Society in memory of William Bingham 2nd, the town's great twentieth
Guided tours, July & August, Thursday through Saturday, 1:00 to
September through June, by appointment (207-824-2908)
$3.00 adults / $1.50 children 6-12 / Family special, $9.00 / BHS members free
rooms in the front portion of the Mason
House now appear much as they
did during the occupancy of Dr. Moses Mason (1789-1866) and his wife
Agnes M. Straw (1793-1869). These rooms contain a wide variety of
eighteenth and nineteenth century examples of the decorative arts, many
of which are original to the house. Other furnishings from the
Society's permanent collection are also on display throughout the
various rooms. The most
captivating feature of the Mason House is located in the front hallway,
contains Rufus Porter School wall murals—on the upper and lower floors—painted during the
mid-1830s and attributed to Jonathan D. Poor, nephew of Rufus
Porter. Depicting distant seascapes and engaging
with lush foliage, these intriguing examples of American folk art have
painstakingly cleaned so that modern-day visitors can view them much as
looked during the Masons' era.
Moses Mason, a physician and businessman,
was one of Bethel's most prominent citizens, serving in many offices of
public trust, including two terms as
United States Representative to Congress from Maine (1833-1837).
wife, Agnes Straw Mason, was, among other things, a leader in the
temperance movement in Oxford County. Fine portraits of the
Masons by Chester Harding
grace the walls of their front parlor. Among the Masons' personal
in the Society's collection are autograph books kept by the Doctor and
wife during their stay in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1830s.
contain the signatures of Presidents John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson,
Martin Van Buren, plus those of Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel
Mason House is one of the few period
house museums in northern New England available to the public
year-round (appointments necessary from September through June).
One of the most popular annual events
here is the Bethel Historical Society's "Christmas at the Mason House,"
which is usually held during the first week of December.
this special occasion, the Mason House period rooms are decorated as
they might have been
a nineteenth century Christmas. The smells, tastes,
sounds of an old-fashioned holiday surround visitors, who may wander
the candle-lit rooms just as the Masons' guests did a century and a
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the Bethel Historical
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