AUBURN —  The Androscoggin Historical Society will have open house from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at one of the city’s oldest structures: the Knight House, which dates back to 1796.

The small Cape Cod-design building is in West Pitch Park near the Auburn Riverwalk. Parking is available nearby at the Great Falls Plaza.

Elizabeth Young, society president, said the open house could provide an outing for adults and children. “They will be able to see how people lived more than 100 years ago, and there will be guides wearing period costumes who will talk about the interesting displays.”

An adjoining shoe shop next to the house also will be open. It contains tools and equipment that demonstrate how some Auburn residents made their living at that time in the city’s history.

The Knight House is not the oldest house in Auburn — it is the oldest frame house in the Goff Corner area, which is downtown Auburn, and is typical of houses built at the time.

Records indicate that the Knight House has had 12 owners and was moved six times. It originally was located on Cross Street near North River Road, nearly a mile from the present site. It probably was built on a 100-acre tract by settler Caleb Lincoln, a Revolutionary War veteran who soon conveyed it to Hezekiah Wyman, of Bath.

After a succession of six owners, the house was sold to Nathaniel Knight in 1864. Knight had it moved to growing Goff’s Corner village, which began near what is now the corner of Court and Main streets.

The Knight family had lived in Auburn for more than 10 years. Mercy Sawyer Knight, a widow, had come to Auburn from Westbrook after the death of her husband in 1849. With her were a daughter and two sons, Ruth, 31, Nathaniel, 30, and John, 25.

Nathaniel set up a business as a meat dealer soon after arriving in Auburn. Ruth was a seamstress until her mother died in 1870, after which she kept house for Nathaniel. John worked with Nathaniel for a time, but then sought adventure in places such as New York and London. None of the three children ever married.

“Nat” Knight, as Nathaniel was known, became an industrious developer of real estate and business in early Auburn.

A local story told how Manson Hume, a seafaring relative of the Knights, gave the Knights money toward purchase of their home after winning $3,000 in the Louisiana lottery, because he wanted something tangible to show for his money.


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