This house was built by William H. Rhodes, carpenter of talent, who was born in New York City in 1833 and died in Eliot in 1913. William and his Dutch-born wife moved here from Springfield, Massachusetts. He purchased 67 acres between Sandy Hill Road and Sturgeon Creek from James H. Coleman of Eliot for $4000.00, all except a burial ground that belonged to Stephen Jenkins, 40 square feet, and a right of way to John H. Mathers to get to his house and brickyard.
We have never been able to locate the graveyard.
Mr. Rhodes also bought the old Jenkins mill on Sturgeon Creek on State Road. This is the old grist mill that is pictured in “Old Eliot” and “Old Kittery” books.
Death records of some of Rhode’s children give also their place of birth and reveal that before Springfield, he lived in Haverstraw, New York.
This is especially interesting because it is the heart of the Andrew Jackson Downing country and the house is so distinctly a Downing style house that we suspect that Rhode’s, who is called a house carpenter, may have worked on other Downing houses before coming to Eliot.
In 1872, an Eliot house map shows S. & J. G. Jenkins at just about the location of this house, as also does one of 1856, so it is supposed that he built the house on the old Jenkins cellar.
Some of the Old Eliot people remember of Mr. Rhodes bringing lumber home from Dover, New Hampshire by boat to build his home in Eliot.
This beautiful old home is at 663 River Road.