One of Portland's Oldest Homes
The history of 1227 Westbrook Street is a mystery. The house occupies two lots, and while many have researched the transactions for both parcels, the deeds are inconsistent and contradictory. There are also no deeds or other records older than 1830, so the earliest history of this property remains an unsolved mystery.
In her book This was Stroudwater, Myrtle Lovejoy called 1227 Westbrook the Isaac Fly House. Both the 1820 and 1830 censuses recorded Isaac Fly as living in Stroudwater. He sold the northern lot of the two parcels that are present‑day 1227 Westbrook Street in 1830, but there is no record of how he acquired the land. It is also unclear if the house mentioned in that deed is somehow incorporated into the existing 1227 Westbrook, or if this is a more recent building.
The Portland Historic Resources Inventory refers to 1227 Westbrook Street as the Solomon Morton, Jr. House and gives it a construction date of “early 18th century.” In 1835, Solomon Morton, Jr. purchased the two lots from two different sellers. At that time, as noted in the deed, Morton was living with his father in a house on the southern lot – while the Fly House was on the northern lot in 1830.
In 1844, both lots were purchased by George W. Morton. Stylistically, the present appearance of 1227 Westbrook Street has many Greek Revival details and likely dates to the early‑ to mid‑nineteenth century. The centered entrance with its sidelights and bold entablature, the oversized first floor windows, and the interior moldings and bull’s eye corner blocks found on the first floor all date to this period. This work could have been completed by either Solomon Morton, Jr. between 1835 and 1844, or George W. Morton between 1844 and 1859. An 1871 atlas notes the house was then owned by “G. W. Morton” and showed it then had a side ell (it presently has a rear ell). The house remained in the Morton family until a descendent sold it in 1943.
The layout of the house is curious as well. A rear ell of the same height as the main house creates an unusual arrangement with two main entries. A 1914 atlas shows this ell was in place at the rear of the main house at that time. The 1924 tax assessor’s photo taken by the City also shows the house in its present configuration and notes the building was a two‑family house.