History of the Galen C Moses House
Being a guest at The Galen C. Moses House Bed and Breakfast is like dwelling in a living museum, surrounded by reminders of the vast wealth that flowed through the city of Bath 150 years ago. The neighborhood, unquestionably, still the handsomest residential street in the state of Maine, reflects a delightfully historical era which has led many to refer to it as the “undiscovered Williamsburg of the North.” Each home on Washington Street exemplifies some of the best architectural styles in America. Behind each door are stories of wealth acquired through shipbuilding, banking and commerce.
The Galen C. Moses House is a prime example of such stories. Designed by Frances Fassett in 1874 for Mr. Moses and redesigned in 1901 by John Calvin Stevens, the house became a focal point of the city’s social and civic endeavors. As a citizen, Mr. Moses was president of several successful banks, sat on numerous boards including the Bath Iron Works Corporation and provided the funds for both the city’s library and the second YMCA in America.
Socially, The Galen C. Moses House was redesigned in 1901 to host the grand dinner parties for which Bath was also noted. Entering the house through the double oak casket doors with the initials GCM etched in the glass above them, you immediately note the elaborate designs in the plaster ceilings and walls, which are found in every room of the house. The hallways and the grand staircase display ornate woodcarvings so predominate in high Victorian design. On the second landing of the staircase and in the grand dining room are numerous stained glass windows, including one purported to have been created in the Tiffany Studios. Every room in the downstairs contains a fireplace with elaborately carved wood or marble fronts. The high ceilings contain either hand done designs or beautifully shaped grid work. The tiles on each fireplace were created by Italian tilemakers, brought to America to work in the workshop of the architect. To the right of the entrance was the receiving room, or study, where Mr. Moses’s guests would wait to be announced. The East and West parlors are separated by a magnificent oriental arch through which passed the social elite of Bath as they stood sipping their sherry under fine chandeliers designed to light with both gas and electric lights. Dinners were served by a number of servants in the dining room with its built in sideboard, another grand fireplace and an elaborate display of stained glass windows. In the library, playful cherubs are carved on the fireplace front, while owls and other wildlife stare from the built-in cabinets and shelves. An inviting inglenook beside the fireplace is backed with the original tufted leather. This was a room in which Mr. Moses translated large portions of his business.
Even today a guest in The Galen C. Moses House can feel transported back into that turn of the century period in any of the upstairs rooms, beautifully appointed with appropriate antiques. Many rooms contain high ceilings, original sinks and cabinets, fireplaces, and elaborate friezes. The large and ample windows provide warmth and light throughout the day. Indeed, the history of Bath, the ambiance of Washington Street, and the special design of The Galen C. Moses House becomes a total emersion in history for those who visit.