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Norlands & The Washburns
Washburn Norlands.jpg
The Norlands mansion in August 2010. Part of the farmer's cottage reconstruction can be seen on the right
Location 290 Norlands Rd., Livermore, Maine
Built 1821
Architectural style Gothic Revival
NRHP reference No. 69000004
Added to NRHP December 30, 1969

The Norlands (also known as the Israel Washburn Homestead) is a historic building on Norlands Road in Livermore, Maine, United States. It was owned by Israel Washburn and his descendants.

The Gothic Revival-style house was built in 1821 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. The house is now operated as part of the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, a 19th-century period farm with living-history demonstrations. The buildings include the Norlands mansion, a mid-19th-century period schoolhouse, a library with displays about the Washburn family, a meeting house, a farmer's cottage, and a barn with farm animals. The barn and farmer's cottage burned down in April 2008 but the Farmer's Cottage was rebuilt and reopened in early 2011. As of July 29, 2012, the barn has yet to be rebuilt.

The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center is a non-profit organization, dedicated to the preservation of 18th- and 19th-century rural Maine heritage. The Washburn-Norlands Foundation was formed in 1973, at the bequest of Washburn family descendants. The Foundation converted the property into a living history museum with the intent of preserving the estate and the remarkable stories of its past. Today the organization is run by a Board of Trustees, which together ensures the protection of the estate, its collections and their future.

The Washburn-Norlands estate is occupied by four historic buildings, the 1867 Mansion, 1883 Library, 1828 Meeting House and 1853 School House. Each building has been restored and operates as a museum. The Norlands is home to a number of collections; including Washburn family papers, photographs, artwork, historic clothing, books, furniture, and more.

The Washburn family is one of Maine's, and the nation's, most political and industrious families. The history of the Washburns at Norlands can be traced back more than 200 years to when Israel Washburn, Sr. purchased the original homestead built by Cyrus Hamlin (father of Hannibal Hamlin) in 1809 and raised ten children with his wife, Martha Benjamin. They lived a life of poverty as they worked the farm. The four oldest sons worked for neighboring farms to help pay their father's debts. With humble beginnings, the seven Washburn sons rose to gain prominence with state, national and international politics, business and industry, diplomacy, and military affairs.

Three of the brothers served in U.S. Congress at the same time representing three different states, two became Foreign Ministers, one served as Civil War Governor of Maine, one was a U.S. Senator, one was a Civil War General, one owned a bank, one ran a newspaper, one founded the Soo Railroad, and one served as a captain in the Navy during the Civil War. Two of the brothers formed flour mills: one became Gold Medal Flour and the other merged with Pillsbury Flour. No other American family has produced in a single generation a level of political and business leadership equivalent to that of the Washburns from Livermore, Maine.

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