Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Digging Under My Brick Wall (Part 4) ~ The Burnhams of Bridgton, Maine

When last I left the continuing saga of digging under my brick wall called Jonathan Seavey (1794-1858), my 2d great grandfather, I had made a wonderful Masonic connection in Whitefield, New Hampshire.

It is now time to look at Jonathan's youngest child (who lived to adulthood), Alice Florence Seavey.

Alice was born to Jonathan and Harriet (Libby) Seavey on April 20, 1855, in Bridgton, Maine. At the age of 21, she married Astley Leonard Burnham, also of Bridgton. The Burnham family had come to Bridgton from Bolton, Massachusetts several generations earlier, and had become well established in Bridgton and neighboring Harrison.

The Astley (or Al, as he was known) Burnhams lived their entire lives in Bridgton, raising a son and three daughters, Howard Eugene (1878-1964), Jessie Winifred (1882-1961), Bertha Lee (1885-1970), and Grace (1894-1967).

A.L. and Alice Burnham at home in Bridgton

But what long-time residents, local historians, and vacationers of bygone days in Bridgton would come to know Al and Alice Burnham for was their hospitality.  As the History of Bridgton recalls, "Another pleasant memory is the evenings spent at the Lake View House...and the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Al (Astley) Burnham. This was the gay meeting place for young people of the neighborhood, with a bowling alley in the rear of the house, and treats of ice cream, popcorn or sweets usually on hand."

In 1894, Al Burnham built the Lake View House, on the west shore of Highland Lake just north of the center of town. Here, for many years, guests came to spend the entire summer, some from as far away as New York. J. Clark Reed arrived each June with his family, driving a two-seated buckboard.

An article in the Boston Evening Transcript read:

Resorts That Prove Popular With the Vacation Seeker

On the west shore of Highland Like at Bridgton, Me., one mile from the railroad station, is the Lake View House, a pleasant place to spend your vacation.  There is a pine grove, tennis courts, a number of boats and an excellent livery stable. The house has a telephone and carriages meet guests at the station. Particulars regarding this attractive house may be had by addressing the proprietor, A. L. Burnham.

Ned Allen, in his book Bridgton, offers this description of the resort in its waning years:

The resort was eventually operated by Howard Burnham, following Al's death is 1908. It was sold to Leland Page and renamed Highland Lake Inn, a postcard of which I was able to purchase recently on eBay.

Alice Florence Seavey Burnham passed away on March 22, 1903, and Al died May 24, 1908. They are buried side by side in the Rte. 93 Cemetery (aka the Burnham Cemetery) just north of town in Bridgton.


Corrigan Michael T. History of Bridgton, Maine 1768-1994. Camden, ME: Picton Press, 1994,  p.392 and other various pages.

Allen, Ned. Bridgton. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2008, p.93.

"Public Member Trees," database,, "Levi Family Tree," for Astley Leonard Burnham (b. 23 Sep 1854), with linked image.