Built in 1795, this farm was the residence of author E. B. White from 1934 until his death in 1985. Not only did he write many of his works here, the location also served as inspiration for one of his most acclaimed and well-known works: Charlotte’s Web. While it remains a privately-owned property, the farm has served as a field trip destination for many children of the local schools. The location was registered as a National Historic Place in 1986. The house is also known as Holden House, after its first resident.
E. B. (Elwyn Brooks) White was born on July
11, 1899 in Mount Vernon, New York. After graduating from Cornell University in
1921, he worked as a reporter and copywriter before joining the New Yorker as a writer and contributing
editor. White won numerous awards, including the National Medal for Literature,
the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Newbery Honor.
was strongly influenced by Henry David Thoreau and was particularly inspired by
his work Walden. In 1934, in an
attempt to live closer to nature and return to his rural roots, White and his
wife, Katharine Sergeant Angell, bought a salt water farm in North Brooklin,
Maine. The couple split their time between New York and Maine until moving to the
farm permanently in 1938, where they began raising farm animals. White wrote
numerous essays during his time in Maine, of
which topics range from nature to politics and from city life to country life. One
collection of essays, One Man’s Meat,
follows his day to day life on the farm.
The author also wrote three children’s novels during this
beloved and acclaimed children’s novel, Charlotte’s
Web, was inspired by his life on the farm, where he raised pigs, geese,
chickens, and sheep. He has stated that the seed of inspiration for Charlotte’s Web came from his feeling
sorry for his pigs that would inevitably be slaughtered, as well as from a real
spider he named Charlotte. White has referred to Charlotte’s Web as his “hymn to the barn.”
house was built by Captain Richard Allen for William Allen Holden in 1795 and
became a registered historic place in 1986. The late 18th century
farmhouse has two and a half stories with a gable roof and clapboard siding.
There is an attached barn that stands at one and a half stories with a gable
roof and shingle siding. The property overlooks Blue Hill Bay, with a view of
Cadillac Mountain and Acadia National Park in the distance. The farm was
purchased by E. B. White in 1934 and became his permanent residence in 1938
until his death in 1985. Lawns, hedges, and other landscaping reflect the period of
E. B. White.
subsequent owners have made small modifications, such as installing additional
windows to enhance lighting, the farm remains very much the same. Details of
note are the rope swing that features in Charlotte’s
Web and the author’s writing desk in the small boathouse on the property.
Selected Works by E. B. White: