The Nonantum

Henry Heckman of Lower Village built The Nonantum in 1884 with 26 guest rooms and a staff of 10. His business was so successful that he had doubled its size by 1894. Architect Henry Paston Clark designed a Georgian Revival façade for the main building during the expansion and a wide front Piazza was added in 1902. Henry Allen Heckman died May 21, 1920.

The Nonantum was sold to the proprietor of the Thatcher Hotel in Biddeford, within a year of Heckman’s death. Felix Bridger hosted his first season as proprietor of The Nonantum in 1921. Extensive renovations of the property were completed in time for the 1922 season. They included 40 additional rooms with baths on the river side of the hotel, an elevator, a new kitchen addition and the installation of a steam heating system to ensure the comfort of guests enjoying the autumn foliage season through October. Felix passed away at 79 years of age on August 8, 1953. His daughter Phyllis Bridger Leathers continued management of the Nonantum until her death in 1970.

Phyllis and Willard Leathers’ son, William Bridger Leathers and his wife Margaret were the next proprietors. They added a three-story annex containing 17 guest rooms with private baths and color tvs. Through a series of stock transfers over a period of eight years ownership of the Nonantum was finally transferred out of the Leathers family in 1987. It still stands and is lovingly cared for by the present owners as Nonantum Resort.

This photograph was taken shortly after the Nonatum, seen at right foreground, was built in 1884. The large hotel in the background, where the Colony Hotel now stands, was the Ocean Bluff Hotel. It was built by the Boston & Kennebunkport Seashore Company in 1873. The Ocean Bluff burned under suspicious circumstances in 1897.

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