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Kennebunk’s Wedding Cake House for sale for $2.65M – Spectrum News

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The Kennebunk home that draws busloads of tourists and day trippers to the small coastal town is for sale for $2.65 million.

The Wedding Cake House, often referred to as the most photographed home in Maine, is known for its elaborate gothic style trim and a romantic — if fictitious — story about its origins.

“It’s become quite the calling card for the community,” Bob Georgitis, president of the Kennebunk Development Corp. said. “Anybody that hears about Kennebunk, they’ve got to stop and see. In the summertime, it’s just incredible to see the number of cars that just stop and take a picture.”

The home dates to 1826, when George Washington Bourne built an “unadorned” Federal style brick home, according to the Museum in the Streets history.

But after a fire in 1852 destroyed the barn, Bourne decided to add “the decorative embellishments” inspired by Italy’s Milan Cathedral.

It got the name Wedding Cake House in the early 1900s when a postcard maker — and apparent marketing genius — invented a story about how the name came about.

As the story goes, a sailor was called to sea on his wedding night and wasn’t able to enjoy his wedding cake. During long months away, he carved the beautiful trim for the home and presented it to his wife when he returned as “the icing for her cake.”

Historians say the story is “totally fictious” but as they noted, it “sold many postcards.”

Fast-forward more than 100 years and now, hundreds of tourists who arrive in Portland by cruise ship hop on buses to get a glimpse and a cellphone photo of the bright yellow house with fancy trim on Summer Street.

But last year, owners Hunt and Katie Edwards asked the town if they could get permission to open a wedding venue at the home. After initially getting Planning Board approval, pushback by neighbors worried about a commercial use on the residential street led the Select Board to effectively reject the plan.

Just weeks later, the Edwards’ listed the property for sale. They did not respond to requests for comment sent to their Facebook page, through their Realtor and through their attorney.

The listing that hit Zillow earlier this week describes the main house with more than 6,000 square feet, five bedrooms, four full bathrooms and two half-baths, noting that the home “has enough space to entertain comfortably.”

The main house sits on 2.23 acres with 300 feet of water frontage on the Kennebunk River. There’s a barn, a carriage house and 2-bedroom apartment above the barn.

Laura Dolce, executive director of the local chamber of commerce, said the main house is full of local history. She praised the Edwards’ for the restoration work they’ve done to keep the house in good shape.

But she said the Wedding Cake House, like many of the large homes on Summer Street, takes a lot of money to maintain. They are in the historic district to boot, restricting what they are able to do.

“That house has had so much mystique around it,” she said. “There’s that romanticism to it so it means a lot to the residents and it means a lot to the visitors.”

Over the last 20 years, it’s only been open to the public once, something Dolce hopes might change when there are new owners.

“People always want to see the inside of that house,” she said. “People have such curiosity about it so I would love to see there be a way, whether it’s annual tours, fundraising. There’s just always going to be that curiosity.”

Dolce, who said she got a private tour years ago, said it’s filled with murals and beautiful woodwork. The real estate listing teases that the main house features “the beauty of 1825!”

“It’s special,” she said. “You just don’t find anything like that anywhere else.”

From Georgitis’ perspective, the Wedding Cake House is a key part of what draws tourists to the Kennebunks, from Walker’s Point to the village shops to the house with a romantic, if not entirely true, backstory.

Without all of those draws, tourists may decide to spend their money elsewhere, he said.

“If you didn’t have those little attractions, then maybe cruise ships wouldn’t be stopping in Portland,” he said. “It’s all these little things added together that make it important.”

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