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Rock Rest
RockRestKittery.JPG
Location 167 Brave Boat Harbor Rd., Kittery, Maine
Area 1.8 acres (0.73 ha)
Built 1946 (1946)
Architectural style Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements
NRHP reference No. 07001449
Added to NRHP January 24, 2008

Rock Rest is a historic house and African-American traveler's accommodation at 167 Brave Boat Harbor Road in Kittery, Maine. The property was operated as a summer guest house by Clayton and Hazel Sinclair between 1946 and 1977, and is one of the few known places in Maine that explicitly welcomed African-American guests in an era when racial discrimination in public accommodations was common. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

Description and history

Rock Rest is located on the northwest side of Brave Boat Harbor Road (on this section designated Maine State Route 103), just east of its junction with Galley Farm Lane. The main house, set close to the road, is a 1-1/2 story wood frame Cape style house, with full shed-roof dormers to the front and rear providing a substantial second floor. A large glassed-in porch extends to the right, and a gabled porch shelters the front entry. To the right (north) of the house is a driveway, with a guest house/garage set back from the street. From the street it appears as a two-bay garage with a half story above; from this a larger and wider structure extends to the rear. This rear space housed a common area on the ground floor and guest rooms on the second floor.

The property was purchased in 1938 by Clayton and Hazel Sinclair; both were originally from New York City, and had served on the staffs of summer visitors before they met. They enlarged what was originally a modest Cape, and began taking in guest lodgers at some point before the end of World War II. Drawn in part by Hazel's reputation as a cook, word of mouth brought them additional business, and they formally opened Rock Rest as a summer guest house in 1946. The property accommodated 16 guests at its height, and house as many as 50 parties during the summer season in the 1950s. The predominantly African-American clientele was drawn mostly from the northeastern United States, and the business was successful even though it did not advertise in publications catering to the African-American traveling public. The Sinclairs continued to operate the business after Maine passed a civil rights law governing public accommodations in 1971, and only closed in 1977 due to poor health.

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