FOSS MANSION by Cgh27o83


									                                              FOSS MANSION
                                                  19 Elm Street
                                                 Auburn, Maine
                                                      Revised 12/3/07

Mansion constructed between 1914 and 1917 by Horatio G. Foss, shoe magnate
Land purchased from Samuel Pickard, son-in-law of Squire Edward Little
Designed by architects Eugene J. Gibbs and Addison Pulsifer, who used dominant features from the Federal,
      Colonial Revival, Georgian and Spanish styles
Employed an upstairs maid, downstairs maid, housekeeper, chauffeur and gardener
Mansion bequeathed by Ella Foss to Woman’s Literary Union in 1941
In 1976, placed on the National Register of Historic Places

Base and steps are of artificial stone
Exterior is white stucco, covering terra cotta tile walls
Georgian roof protected by red clay tiles (Spanish)
Three chimneys and four fireplaces
Large porch and porte cochere on the west side and sun parlor on the east
Two-story porch in front supported by four Roman Doric (Greek) columns
Palladian entryways and windows
Beautiful gardens surrounded mansion, maintained by Mrs. Foss

The floor plan is Federal, hip roof is Georgian with Spanish influence (red clay tiles)
House has 12 rooms and 5.5 baths
Includes kitchen with butler’s pantry, formal dining room, living room, library, solarium, five roomy
bedrooms with adjoining baths and a half bath on the first floor, large entryways, servants’ quarters
Period wallpaper throughout, all original except the entry hall and library
Also original to house are paintings in parlor, stair carpeting, kitchen furnishings, rugs in foyer, dining room and
    upper hall
Electric and gas illumination; “concealed lights” in dining room
Five Victorian stained-glass windows
Flying staircase with bowed windows on landing (Federal style)
Ornate mouldings around windows and doorways
Palladian entryways framed by pilasters (columns) with decorative ornamentation
Hardwood floors; some paneled walls and ceilings
Central vacuum system

Mrs. Foss called it her “palm corridor”
Tile floor
French doors (two sets) leading to living room
Half bath at end of corridor
Entryway into front foyer

Living room is 22' x 36'
Front windows are Palladian (Greek) style
Palladian entry to front foyer with pilasters (columns)
French windows open to large porch, as well as palm corridor & porte cochere
Fosses had three living room sets and a piano here

Porch supported by two Roman Doric (Greek) columns on each side; crowned with segmental pediment (roof)
Entrance has leaded glass panels
Doorway similar to Palladian-Mid Georgian doorways of the 1770s with sidelights & transom, framed by pilasters
18' wide foyer extending to main stairway
Large closets on each side of door

Flying staircase (no visible means of support) leading to a circular landing
Behind circular landing, three stained-glass windows, which receive outside light
Two windows on right placed there for aesthetic balance
Stairway divides, ascending to second floor hallway
Bannister’s newel posts carved in three different designs

Room size 20' x 28'
Oak paneled with indirect lighting
Fireplace with floral garlands carved on the mantelpiece
Built-in china closets on each side of fireplace with tabletop access to kitchen
French window entrance to solarium
Sliding pocket doors to close off this area.
Central vacuum system

Entry through the butler’s pantry
Butler’s pantry has steel vegetable sink
Dumb waiter extends from the ice room in the basement to the second floor.
Access to dining room through two tabletop openings
Back stairway entry leading to upper floors

Entryways to foyer and dining room
French window entrance to solarium
Palladian style front windows
Built-in bookcase; remodeled with glass shelves and now houses doll collection

Tile floor in sun room
Fosses had Wicker furniture here
Porte cochere has paneled ceiling; supported by columns
Roofs of sun room & porte cochere serve as balconies for the second-floor library and bedrooms
Balustrade of the balconies decorated with pineapple-shaped ornaments (pineapple denotes welcome)
Five bedrooms off hallway; two of which are open to public



Servants’ quarters
One bedroom, storage area, and a large room with tongue in groove boards, reportedly used as billiard room

Exterior walls consist of terra cotta tile covered with white stucco; red clay tile roof
Wooden floor with turntable; now concrete
Work benches for maintenance and repairs
Complete with basement and an upstairs room with tongue and groove boards
Chauffeur’s quarters above garage; later chauffeur lived in white house on the corner of Elm & High streets
Large room has tongue and groove boards; light provided by dormers
Driveway extends in a loop from the street to the carriage house and around to the porte cochere.
Fosses owned a Packard, Rolls Royce and a LaSalle

Sun parlor
Pineapples for balustrade
Wallpaper in dining room

In 1989, extensive repairs to the porte cochere and dormers ($38,000 raised for this undertaking)


Porte-cochere: A roofed structure extending from the entrance of a building over an adjacent driveway and
sheltering those getting in or out of vehicles.
Quoins: The dressed stones at the corners of buildings.
Commodious: Roomy, spacious; serviceable.
Pilasters: An upright architectural member that is rectangular in plan and is structurally a pier but architecturally
treated as a column and usually projects a third of its width or less from the wall.
Magnate: Person of rank, power, influence or distinction
Palladian: Relating to a revived classic style in architecture based on the works of Andrea Palladio
Doric: Greek
Georgian: Relating to the first four reigns of the Georges of Great Britain
Segmental Pediment: a triangular space forming the gable of a low-pitched roof in classic architecture set on a
portion or segment of the whole.

A native, born in Wayne, Maine, February 22, 1846
Son of a shoemaker and his wife, Jeremiah and Elizabeth (Handerson) Foss
Educated in local schools, learned shoemaking trade from his father
Gained practical experience in larger shoe shops in Haverill, Mass.
Came to Auburn in 1875, went to work at Dingley, Strout & Co., shoe manufacturers
Married Ella M. Fletcher in 1878; they had no children
Foss later became partner and general manager of firm, which was renamed Dingley, Foss & Co.
Dingley, Foss & Co., located off Hampshire Street, Auburn, manufactured boots, shoes and slippers; produced a
special line of men’s fine boots & shoes, slippers, tennis and baseball shoes
In later years, spent considerable time in Boston to be near the stock market in which he was very active
Died December 2, 1928 at age 82

A Maine native, born in Solon in 1854
At age 18, moved to Auburn and found work in shoe factory owned by Horatio Foss
Married Horatio Foss in 1878, when she was 24 and he was 35
They had no children; but Mrs. Foss loved her two nieces and a nephew, who spent many happy hours in the Foss
  mansion when they visited every summer
She loved her Auburn home, but every week she returned to the “farm” to visit her family
She wintered in St. Petersburg, Florida at the Sorena Hotel from November to April
Died in 1941; estate totaled more than a million dollars
Bequeathed the mansion to Woman’s Literary Union (1941)
Generously paid all inheritance taxes out of the estate on all bequests

The Fosses lived elegantly. They owned a Packard, Rolls Royce and a LaSalle. They entertained often in their
beautiful home. They employed an upstairs maid, downstairs maid, housekeeper, chauffeur and gardener.

Facts compiled by Susan Sweet from literature received
November 2007

In this same room will be the boilers which will heat the water for the several baths and for kitchen use; also the
switchboard which will control the electric lights and other electrical apparatus which will be installed in the

The entire house will be provided with electric and gas illumination of the latest type and in the dining room, the so
called “concealed light” system will be used, the electric lamps being placed along the walls, behind decorative
mouldings, their light being thrown upon the ceiling which reflects the illumination over the room. This provides
one of the softest and best lighting systems which has yet been invented.

Terra cotta tile will be used in the construction of the exterior walls. This will be covered with white stucco, which
will give a pleasing appearance to the home and be splendidly adapted to the type of architecture selected by Mr.
And Mrs. Foss. The base will be artificial stone, as will the steps. The roof will be of red Spanish tile.

At the back of the lot will be constructed a garage of the same material as the main house. It will have space for
two of the largest types of cars. There will be a turn table and necessary work benches for making repairs to
machines and keeping them in proper condition. Over the garage proper will be the chauffeur’s quarters.

It will be seen, from this rather meagre outline of the new home, that when it is completed Mr. and Mrs. Foss will
not only have a spacious, delightful and comfortable, as well as commodious home, but one of the most attractive
in the state and a house which will be one of the show places of Auburn.


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