August 10, 2018 by: Gary Born
Elms of Camden - How It All Started
When your bed and breakfast is in one of the oldest homes in town you get asked a lot of questions about its history, its former owners, who built the house, etc.. I wish I had all the answers starting from 1806, but pictures and documents aren't as available from that era. If only Kodak and Adobe had been around. But I will tell you what I know and share some pictures, history, and interesting facts about the home and its past.
The home was built in 1806 by Capt. Calvin C. Curtis. His father, also Calvin Curtis, lived in Hanover, MA and his son moved to Camden in the late 1700s or early 1800s. He married and had four children; three sons and one daughter. The two eldest sons sailed off to find fortune and were never heard from again. The youngest son, John C. Curtis, remained in Camden and was a successful businessman and community leader. Here's a link to a short story on the Curtis family written by Barbara Dyer.
Capt. Curtis earned his Captain title when serving in the War of 1802. This document lists his command and soldiers under his supervision.
Here some interesting facts about the house that we have discovered:
- The exterior has two walls, one brick and then another layer of wood.
- There are three hidden staircases, two in the basement and one in the attic that has yet to be explored.
- One room has a hidden wall (that goes to a staircase in the basement).
- When the house was built, Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States.
- The original fireplace and cooking stove remain in the house and are in the Dahlia room.
- This was one of the first homes built in Camden and both bedrooms had a very unique feature for its time; walk-in closets!
James and I are the fourth B&B owners at the property and are amazed at the craftsmanship used to build the house. A contractor gave us some of the original hand-forged steel nails and they are still "tough as nails" even after 212 years. The original support beam of the house was a sailing mast from an 1805 whaling ship. It still remains in the basement today.
I hope you found some of this interesting and if you are in the area, stop on by. Or better yet, come for a visit and experience Elms of Camden for yourself.
James & Gary