“built as the summer home of Ruggles Sylvester Morse”
Also known as the Morse-Libby House, the Mansion was built between 1858 and 1860 as a summer home for Ruggles Sylvester Morse, a Maine native who made his fortune in New Orleans as the proprietor of luxury hotels. Architect Henry Austin of New Haven, Connecticut designed the Morse's summer home in Portland. Austin was known for his Italianate buildings, and the Mansion is widely recognized as the most important expression of the Italian villa style in American domestic architecture. The elaborate interiors of the house were designed by Gustave Herter, a leading furniture maker and interior designer of the nineteenth century. Victoria Mansion is not only Herter's earliest known commission, but it is also the only one to survive intact. Approximately ninety percent of the Mansion's elegant original furnishings remain in place today.
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