This Place Matters: The West Mansion

Driving north into Portland along Interstate 295, one of the most visible historic buildings is the West Mansion, whose thirty-foot white Iconic columns glow brightly atop the Western Promenade where it has commanding views of the White Mountains on a clear day. The house, built for the George F. West family in 1911, is palatial in scale and rich in architectural style.


George Fletcher West was one of Portland’s most prominent businessmen in the early 20th century. The greatest portion of his wealth came from investments in gas and electric utilities. West shocked Portland when he spent a large portion of his wealth, $100,000, to build his new home. The home’s materials include mahogany, quarter-sawn oak, leaded glass, stained glass, as well as oak and tile floors. From the large front portico, guests pass under the second floor balcony and through a set of massive oak doors into a small vestibule with leaded glass windows and a terra cotta mosaic floor. Inside the grand hall has towering ceilings supported by oak beams, six-foot high oak and mahogany wainscoting, and a wide oak staircase flanked by oak Ionic columns. Here are some of these interior details. Every corner was an opportunity for decadent design.  

The elaborate Georgian Revival mansion was designed by Frederick A Tompson (1857-1919), a Portland native who trained in the office of Francis Fassett. The two formed a professional partnership in 1885 that lasted until 1891. Tompson was  also responsible for the design of the Walker Memorial Library (1894) and the Old High School (1886) in Westbrook, as well as the Masonic Building (pictured below with his signature) at 415 Congress Street (1911). While the West Mansion is Tompson’s most impressive design on the Western Prom, his architectural legacy on the promenade also includes the design of the Henry P. Cox House at 233 Western Promenade (1898) and the Adam P. Leighton House at 265 Western Promenade (1902).


As seen below many occasions and people were celebrated in this house. The enormous single family home was in the mid 20th century converted into six apartments until it was restored to its original glory in 1985 by the Glickman family. Since its restoration and preservation this home has hosted many events for Greater Portland Landmarks from house tours to being a designer showcase home.  This year we have the distinct privilege of having our Gala here.